Live review: Pam and Mark Schaff
Photos: Pam and Mark Schaff
After a night of rest, we took some time to grab a bite early before heading back to Cafe 611 for day two of the fest. We knew that the day was stocked with bands we couldn’t wait to see, and got to the venue just in time for the 2:45 start for the first band.
The first band up you would think would be a tuff situation to be in. Having to get the crowd warmed up right from the start. Conclave got that job on Saturday and delivered a powerful set to set the mood right. This metal band from New England consists of Jerry Orne – Bass/Vocals, Jeremy Kibort – Guitars, Terry Savastano – Guitars and Dan Blomquist – Drums. They were heavy from the start, and just what the day needed to get going.
Black Tar Prophet
This two piece sludge/ doom band from Nashville, Tennessee jumped up next and hammered out a handful of songs that you can’t help but love. Dark, gloomy instrumental sounds go well early in the afternoon. Greg Swinehart – bass, founded this band in 2011 and with drummer Erik Dever, have put out a full length, an EP and a split that needs to be added to everyone playlist. Make sure to check them out!
Witches Of God
Coming cross country, the Los Angeles, California band Witches Of God, came to the fest and played a kick ass performance for the Frederick crowd. Playing a nice blend of classic rock/ stoner/psychedelic rock, we loved what we heard from these guys, an evil yet fun band to see live. As it says on their Bandcamp page “Beyond Heaven & Hell there is a place where Thee Witches Dwell.” They were dwelling at the Maryland Doom fest on this Saturday, and that was fine with us. On their album ‘The Blood Of Other’, Scott ‘Wino’ Weinrich does some guest vocals and the song ‘The Horror’. These guys are definitely worth checking out.
More Texas goodness was up next. We were into this band before the fest, and after the live show, can’t get enough of them. Playing a great blend of Psychedelic / Rock / Blues, The Well was simply amazing. This power trio from Austin is comprised of Ian Graham – vocals/guitar, Lisa Alley – vocals/bass and Jason Sullivan – drums. Their album ‘Pagan Science’ came out last year and is a crusher. As is their first LP ‘Samsara’, you can’t go wrong with getting both. Highly recommended!
This all female group shows you don’t need balls to play doom metal! Coming to the fest from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, High Priestess Nighthawk bass/vocals, Arch Bishop Barghest – guitar and SirenTempestas drums, pounding out a killer set that ignited the Doom fest crowd. We missed a chance to see them locally just before the fest, now we regret that we didn’t go. Next time they’re in town, we will be there, as should you, give them a chance!
If you like riffs filled with bluesy, heavy guitar. Then King Bison is just what you need. A fantastic band from Red Hill, Pennsylvania, these guys kicked out a monster set. We love their sound, and can’t say enough that we can’t wait to see them again. Members include Guba Renwick III -bass Ryan Prough -drums Chris Wojcik – guitar and vocals. After a few problems early before the set got started, they got things right and showed the crowd what King Bison does best!
Serpents Of Secrecy
Serpents Of Secrecy is a doom supergroup. Having Chuck Dukehart III – Drums and Rev. Jim Forrester – Bass, both of Foghound/ Sixty Watt Shaman, Todd Ingram – guitar (Sixty Watt Shaman/ King Giant), Steve Fisher – guitar and Mark Lorenzo – Vocals. They played an emotional, energy filled set that probably couldn’t be matched for the rest of the night. Just a few weeks before Doom fest, Rev. Jim Forrester was in a coma, dealing with health issues, and there was major uncertainty as to whether Serpents would play, or Jim would survive. But the tough as nails Forrester recovered quickly, got his ass to Doom fest in time to put on an emotional moment for the fest crowd, that will be remembered for some time to come. Serpents Of Secrecy had a new single available at the fest, and a new album is expected soon titled ‘Ave Vindicta’. Grab it when it’s available, we will for sure!
Playing for the second year in a row, Hollow leg brought the doom from Jacksonville, Florida, north to Frederick. The guys pounded out song after song, that set the place on fire. We love these guys and grabbed a vinyl for their album ‘Abysmal’. Their newest album ‘Murder’ came out in March and is highly recommended as a must listen. The band consists of Tom Crowther – Bass, John Stewart – Drums, Scott Angelacos – Vocals and Brent Lynch – Vocals, Guitars. With any luck, Hollow Leg makes three straight appearances to the fest for next year. I’m sure no one would object to that!
Next on stage was another great band coming from Texas. The Watchers kicked into gear and the crowd followed along. A group of seasoned veterans, The Watchers consists of Carter Kennedy (ORCHID) – drums, Jeremy Epp – guitar, Tim Narducci – vocals, and Cornbread – bass. They grooved out down a strong set of heavy, riff filled stoner metal, that set forth the foundation for the final four bands that could all be headlining on this night. We grabbed one of their EP’s while there, and definitely think you should too.
Earthride was created by hometown man Dave Sherman in 1999. This was the bands first performance in 7 years. Earthride took the stage on this night and shook the foundations of Cafe 611 like few can. Heavy, fuzzy and nothing but goodness. Dave is as great a frontman as he is a bassist. Taking the mike for Earthride, Dave gets the crowd stirred up as none can. In their own words, they are “Pure Maryland Doom For The Brotherhood Of Music”. We can’t wait to see what they have been cooking up in the studio. Looking forward to seeing them again. Rounding out the band is Kyle Van Steinburg – guitar, Edmond Allan Brown– bass and Eric Little – drum and Greg Lyle Ball.
It would seem that most bands from the state of Texas kick ass nowadays, and Wo Fat is no exception. Playing a blend of Stoner / Psychedelic rock, we were well aware of them before the fest, and couldn’t wait to see these guys live. And now that we have, there was no disappointment at all. Hard, heavy and fuzzy is the way we like it and Wo Fat delivered. All their albums are great, and the most recent one ‘Midnight Cometh’ is off the charts.Kent Stump – Guitars, Vocals, Michael Walter – Drums and Zack Busby – Bass, hammered Cafe 611 hard and made patrons there take notice if they weren’t familiar with the band already. We can’t wait for the next time we have a chance to catch them live!
Two years in a row, and for the second Saturday night of Doom fest, Bang jumped on stage and blew up the joint! Frank Ferrara – Bass/vocals, Frank Gilcken – guitar/vocals and newly recruited drummer Sean Saley (Pentagram/The Skull), played an amazing set and raised the bar once again for the weekend. As the guys continue their resurgence, new music is on the horizon. And a few releases are coming soon since they have signed with Ripple. Frank and Frank sat down with us again this year and talked about what they’ve been up to over the last year. Catch all that was said in an upcoming interview soon. Till then, if they hit the road, make sure you go see them, you won’t regret it!
Eric Wagner has found his way to the Doom fest stage in all three years of its existence. This is the second time he’s played with The Skull, and last year he dominated with Blackfinger. Eric never fails to impress, the former Trouble lead man can sing with the best of them. Hitting all the best from The Skulls album ‘For Those Which Are Asleep’ and throwing in a few Trouble originals. Eric’s voice is distinct and unmistakable. The band has many talented members, Ron Holzner (Trouble) – bass, Lothar Keller – guitars, Rob Wrong – guitars and Brian Dixon – drums. The band was tight and spot on, making for a great closing set to night two. Eric’s band Blackfinger has a new album dropping soon, we advise everyone to grab it!
After such a full day of music, our ears couldn’t take much more. Thinking about all the amazing bands, we did our customary late night food grab and talked about the day’s events. Headed back to the hotel for some rest. With one more day to go, the third had bands from top to bottom we couldn’t wait to see.