By Lisa Burke
May 1st 2017, The Regent, Los Angeles CA: Heavy stoner doom and sludge are quite popular heavy metal genres these days and last Monday May 1st 2017, the Regent in downtown LA hosted a stacked line-up of bands that fit this style well. Weedeater’s tour with Primitive Man and The Obsessed’s own tour with Karma to Burn and Fatso Jetson crossed paths and ended up on the same combined bill for their respective LA shows. Headliner for this evening was Weedeater, followed by The Obsessed, Primitive Man, Karma To Burn and Fatso Jetson.
For a Monday night with direct competition going on as Royal Thunder and Brant Bjork were also playing this night, the venue was packed up nicely and the mood was kept light and airy. The first band I was able to catch was Colorado’s Primitive Man, who took the stage with full force. This trio banged out the most primitively heavy and super slow paced doom beats with deep growling vocals and meaty riffs that intertwined both worlds. The aggressive nature they added to the old school doom worked in their favor and there were times when the pace fluctuated enough that it kept the audience from falling into a stoned trance of death and doom. They definitely hold their own in a lineup such as this, although I imagine the pace change from the high-energy of Karma To Burn to these guys may have been a little hard to swallow. In the end, the set was of good length and set us up for the mastery that was The Obsessed.
Scott “Wino” Weinrich is the mastermind behind The Obsessed as well as Saint Vitus despite not being the original singer in the later band much in the way that Matt Pike is the mastermind behind High On Fire and Sleep. If there was a celebrity death match play off between the two vocalists/guitarists my vote goes to Wino without question. They really are different bands, however, and should probably not be compared in that way, but as I was watching Wino that was the thought running through my head and I’m standing by my opinion. To enhance the vibe of the tunes a backdrop screen was in action with a slew of trippy images that all spoke of past, present, and future turmoil featuring the most prominent image of Uncle Sam pointing a gun at his head. One great feature of this show was that although this band started in the ’80s and still plays those songs, they reworked them with more substance, and the modernized off-beats of the drumming also worked well in this context of reinventing the wheel. They carried the torch throughout the set and joints were ablaze among the crowd to the point where the other side of the room became a haze of fog. This is old style doom at its finest brought into the hands of the youth, and it still has extreme significance which is what it’s all about.
Even though I have seen North Carolina’s Weedeater in all their exciting insanity, I still found a hard time getting used to the idea of them headlining this show over The Obsessed as they are of a much later origin and seemingly don’t have as much of a following. Well, guess what? They definitely earned the title and it was proven that fans were there to see both bands equally and rightly so. As much as the crowd was loving the riffs Wino was throwing out at them, it wasn’t until Weedeater vocalist and bassist Dave “Dixie” Collins set the mood off with his southern style attitude and whiskey bottle-swigging banter that included the words crack rocks that got the crowd all riled up enough to attempt the stoner sludge mosh pit and crowd surf combo. If you’ve ever tried to watch stoners mosh, it is a very slow motion event where no one actually bumps into each other and crowd surf attempts usually end in a floored victim before they even get into the air. The best part is that everyone is carefree regardless, so no harm no foul there. Weedeater’s bass jams are heavy, fun, and as insanely witty as the lyrics, while the guitar follows suit. The drumming is always out of control and in your face in the best way possible. The last show I saw of theirs was at Viper and the drum kit was turned sideways while the flipping sticks were flying and almost knocking out audience members. This show, the drum kit was facing front and center but was still sitting up at the front of the stage in line with the rest of the crew. There is a wild vibe happening from all members that is unlike any other, to the point that it almost seems to have the same entertainment factor as a wild boar fight in a mud puddle that splashes the audience with their sludge after every move. The dynamic between the heavy bass playing off the wild and brilliant drumming is the beef of this tasty stew. They played a variety of fun stoner hits with funny lyrics, and towards the end they played one of their top hits ‘Weed Monkey’ and Wino joined on stage to enhance the jams with his talents, so all became right with the world once again.
This show was just the beginning of great metal shows at the Regent that seems to be gaining popularity with the help of its latest team of bookers putting together shows you can be sure you can count on. Again, the most impressive traits that happen at these kinds of shows is when the old gets on board with the new, and the modern twist blows your mind and keeps the music alive and right where it should be.
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The Obsessed w/ Lo-Pan & Karma To Burn remaining tour dates:
05/08/2017 – New Orleans, LA @ Siberia
05/09/2017 – Savannah, GA @ The Jinx
05/10/2017 – Johnson City, TN @ Hideaway
05/11/2017 – Atlanta, GA @ The Earl
05/12/2017 – Miami, FL @ Gramps
05/13/2017 – Spartanburg, SC @ Ground Zero
05/14/2017 – Raleigh, NC @ Pour House
05/16/2017 – Philadelphia, PA @ Kung Fu Necktie
05/17/2017 – Boston, MA @ Once Ballroom
05/18/2017 – Brooklyn, NY @ Saint Vitus
05/19/2017 – New Hanover, CT @ The Ballroom at Outer Space
05/20/2017 – Baltimore, MD @ Otto Bar