Live review: Pam and Mark Schaff
Photos: Pam and Mark Schaff
It was once again that time of year to head to Frederick, Maryland where a weekend of great music was about to kick off. This party actually got started on Thursday night with a pre-fest party that really didn’t need anything to follow it. It was a great bill on its own. We, unfortunately, could not attend the Thursday night bash at Cafe 611, but we were told Spillage (Who played last year’s fest as well) kicked things off in style with a blistering set. Followed by The Druids, Weed Is Weed, Barracho, Pale Divine and finishing off the night with Valkyrie with Pete Adams (formerly Baroness) along with his brother Jake Adams. We made our 7-hour drive on Friday morning from the suburbs of Buffalo, NY and after a brief stop to check into the hotel, we quickly headed to Cafe 611 just in time to catch the first act take the stage.
These guys kicked things off with some major riffs right from the start. They’re our neighbors from the great white north in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada. They brought their brand of Proggy Doom to The Fest this year. Jason Taylor – Vocals, Guitars, Robbie Carvalho – Bass, Guitars, Piano and Sam Hill – Drums, Djembe, Bells. Set the tone early for the rest of the bands here at the MDF to follow.
Black Manta is one of those old school bands that just want to get on stage and play. We loved these guys. They had some killer riffs going to the crowd that came early on Friday and didn’t let up throughout their set. The band member is simply Skull, Walter, Tommy, and Hillel. We need to check this band out a little more than just their set on Friday.
For the second year in a row, the self-described dark occult rockers from Wheeling, West Virginia, came to the Maryland Doom Fest a conquered it. Members “Big John” Williams – vocals, Corey Roth – guitar, Andrew D’Cagna – bass and Dave Trik – drums slammed Cafe 611 once again with pounding riffs that blew the people from the front of the stage back. If these guys come every year to the MDF, it’s not a bad thing!
Demon Eye was up next, and we just cannot say enough good things about this band. From the moment they took the stage at last year’s fest, we were hooked on these guys. They have such a heavy classic sound. The band comes from Raleigh, North Carolina and is comprised of Bill Eagen, Paul Walz, Larry Burlison, Erik Sugg. Erik has such a great voice and his guitar style is unique and just fantastic. Demon Eye has a new album coming out on August 9th, ‘Prophecies And Lies’. We highly recommend it, as we do for anything this band has done in the past. A must see live act!
The heavy just got heavier, time for the fuzz! Beelzefuzz hit the stage and the riffs started flowing. Coming from the doom heavy area around Northern Maryland, these guys know all too well how to play some great psychedelic doom music. Dana Ortt – Lead vocals/guitar, Darin McCloskey – drums, Greg Diener – Lead guitar/vocals and Bert Hall – Bass guitar make up this hard-hitting band that crushed us all at the MDF.
Faith In Jane
Another home state band, these guys come from Thurmont, Maryland. Dan Mize – Guitar/Vocals, Alex Llewellyn – Drums and Brendan Winston – Bass, brought their psychedelic/stoner/doom sound to the fest and pounded out a great set filled with riff laden songs. This is a band we will be looking forward to seeing again real soon.
Apostle Of Solitude
Here’s a bunch of Indiana rockers that made their way to the Doom fest and kicked some ass on stage. This heavy doom metal group is made up of Corey Webb – drums, Chuck Brown – guitar/vox, Steve Janiak – guitar/vox, Mike Naish – bass. We were looking forward to seeing these guys here, and they did not disappoint us one bit. Rocking the shit out of Cafe 611 was a theme all night, but these guys ramped it up to the next level just in time for the final two bands took the stage.
A top band on our own want list to see live came up next in Lo Pan. Drums up front on the stage was a different sight that we’ve not seen at a live show before. With drummer J.Bartz sitting up front, singer Jeff Martin stood behind and belted out the vocals. And this man can sing! We love this band so much. They have a great groove and feel to their music. A truly great band to see live! Skot Thompson – Bass and Chris Thompson – Guitar round out this amazing band from Columbus, Ohio.
The headliner for night one was a band from the 70’s that has revamped its career with founding drummer Bobby Caldwell (Johnny Winter). I (Pam) grew up listening to Captain Beyond, and bands like them, thanks to my parents. When I heard they were going to be headlining the first night of MDF I can’t tell you how excited I was. In the early 70’s, when this band formed, they were considered a Supergroup. Other members included Rod Evans (Deep Purple), Larry “Rhino” Reinhardt and Lee Dorman (Iron Butterfly). Bobby has recruited some great musicians for this new version of Captian Beyond, and tonight we witnessed first hand how good, that amazing group of musicians for the new Captain Beyond truly is. They got the Cafe 611 crowd pumped up with a string of CB classics and some killer jams. They recently added guitarist Jamie Holka to the lineup and he’s a great guitar player, and is a perfect fit for the band, and coincidently is also from the Buffalo/Niagara region. Bobby Caldwell can still play drums with as much emotion and energy as he did back in the 70’s. He has always been held in high regard for his drumming skills and we got to see why tonight. Bobby stepped from behinds the drums to handle the vocals on a couple songs and sounds great. Members include Bobby Caldwell, Don Bonzi, Jeff “The Count” Artabasy, Simon Lind and Jamie Holka. Seeing them play “Dancing Madly Backwards” & “Sufficiently Breathless” was absolutely mindblowing. The band has a few dates coming up in August, including a local show for us at The Bear’s Den in Niagara Falls, NY. Do yourself a favor and go see these guys in to witness musicianship at it’s finest!
Just like last year, this day ended with an amazing amount of exhaustion from the long day of travel and catching nine bands play live until 1:30 in the morning. It was great seeing familiar faces and catching up with people. We realized that one band had not played tonight, and found out that Wretch had not made it to the fest to play. Disappointing, having listened to some of their material, they sounded like a great band to see live. But there was not much rest to be had with all the great music still ringing in our heads, we hit the hotel for some sleep, and would have to be back in about 12 hours for day two. And you know what, we couldn’t wait for it to get started!