Live review: Pam and Mark Schaff
Photos: Pam and Mark Schaff
Once again, for the third straight year, we were eagerly waiting for that third week in June to get here. Finally getting to see our doom family again, we made the drive to Frederick, Maryland and made our way to the Cafe 611 after a short stop to check into the hotel. Like the past fests, this year lineup over the three days was stacked with great bands. And was once again going to prove to be one of the best festivals you’ll ever attend. And getting to the venue just in time, we quickly got ready to take our photos and watch and listen to some of the greatest music made. Day one was getting underway!
Kicking off this years fest was Horseburner from West Virginia. These guys kicked it off in classic style with some tight grooves and heavy riffs for an already crowded Cafe 611. You couldn’t ask for a better job from the fest starter. The band has one album, released in 2016, a seven-song self-titled album filled with this kick-ass sludgy doomy sound. Looking forward to hearing more from this band in the future!
Geezer comes to the fest from Kingston, NY and got up on stage and gave this early fest crowd a hard dose of heavy grooves and great tunes. Their last album ‘Psychoriffadelia’ is a killer album, as is everything else they’ve bot in their catalog. the folks that showed up early got a real treat to see these guys, and they were one we could check off our list of needed to catch live.
Bailjack came up next, this Maryland band brought it’s heavy grooves to the Cafe 611 stage and gave the fans a hell of a show. The band consists of J Sheldon Barker (guitar and vocals), Blake Owens (guitar and vocals), Alex Llewellyn (drums) and Ron “Fezzy” McGinnis (bass and backing vocals). They have a great classic rock/doom sound with this psychedelic background. Ron is a staple at the fest each year, and we always look forward to seeing anything he’s a part of on stage!
The second year in a row we were able to see this band perform here at the Doomfest, and for the second year in a row, they kicked ass on stage. Having just signed with Ripple Music for their first album, they took to the stage and it didn’t take long for Brenna’s powerful voice to reign supreme once again at Cafe 611. She can sing with the best of them! Last year, Erik Sugg told us it was his last show with the band. But this year it was great to see that things had worked out for him to stay with Lightning Born, as his sound and style would be hard, if not impossible, to replace in the lineup. Doza Hawes once again commanded the rhythm section from behind the kit. This year though Mike Dean (Corrosion Of Conformity) was missing since COC was touring in Europe. Mike was replaced for the show with Erik’s Demon Eye bandmate Paul Walz, and he did a great job filling in. Hope to see this band on the road real soon after the new album comes out. If you have a chance to see them, make sure you do!
This is another first-timer band for us. And it’s a shame it took us so long to see Disenchanter, because they rock! This stoner rock, slash metal, slash heavy rock or whatever category you want to throw them in, knows how to play. And they proved it before a growing crowd at the fest on night one. Sabine Stangenberg (guitar and Vocals) and Joey DiMartini (bass) and Huwy Kilgora Williams (drums), hammered out a killer set from the first two self-produced EP’s ‘Back To Earth’ and ‘On Through Portals’ and their first full-length album ‘Strange Creations’ released in 2015. Can’t wait to catch them again!
Thousand Vision Mist
This is the second time we’ve been able to see this killer band from Maryland, and the first time since their release of last November’s new album ‘Journey To Ascension And The Loss Of Tomorrow’. And though it’s been a couple years since we saw them, they still kill it live. Hometown guys get the crowd riled up here at the fest and that’s just what Thousand Vision Mist did. Danny Kenyon (guitars and vocals), Chris Sebastian (Drums) and Tony Comulada (bass and backing vocals) ripped up the stage with a heavy performance that set the stage for the next band up. The new album is great, and always catch the band when you have the chance, there’s never a letdown!
Unorthodox is one of those great bands that we’ve never gotten to see play live. So to say we were excited about this opportunity would be an understatement. Dale Flood has re-tooled Unorthodox with Blake Dellinger and Alan Pfeifer of Flummox, who we got to see a couple years ago at the fest, and they had no shortage of fans for this show. The place was packed with all of us waiting for the return of Unorthodox, and they didn’t let down anyone. The guys gave the fans an energy-filled set that lit up the Doomfest crowd at times like we haven’t seen in the three years we’ve gone. Dale is the hometown guy, that came back and rocked Cafe 611 in style. There is no shortage of great things to say about them being back, and Blake and Alan are a fantastic fit for the band. We’re hoping the guys get to recording some long overdue new tunes, and they did play a new one on this night, and it kicked ass like anything else Unorthodoxc has done. Looking forward to seeing more from the band soon!
ZED took the stage sandwiched between the killer performance of Unorthodox and what everyone figured would be a killer night-ending set from The Obsessed, so this had to be a hard spot to fill for the fest organizers. And they gave us ZED, and they hit it just right on this one. Having not seen this band live, we have been familiar with them for a while and couldn’t wait to see them play. Coming from San Francisco, CA this stoner rock band played to a packed house at Cafe 611 and made everyone that may not have know who they were, take notice. These guys were tight sounding and heavy as hell, a perfect fit for the spot and crowd. The band has three albums ‘The Invitation’ (2010), ‘Desperation Blues’ (2013) and it’s latest release ‘Trouble In Eden’ (2016). And this is another killer band that we can’t wait to see again!
We’ve done a lot of coverage for The Obsessed over the last couple years, and it never gets old being able to write about them. These guys kick ass every time they get onstage. And they get better every time we see them. They sounded as tight as a band could on the first night of Doomfest and laid waste to Cafe 611 before everyone went home with a smile and their ears ringing. It’s becoming a habit for us to see the guys, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. They played a tight set that included songs from across the board of the albums The Obsessed has. The newest album ‘Sacred’ was one of the top albums out last year, and everything off it rules! Having some extra time at the end, they even threw in a few more songs to finish the night with a huge performance that left us all smiling from ear to ear. As always, if they’re on the road, you need to get to a show. Wino, Brian, and Reid have it sounding better than ever and it’s a must-see show anywhere!
As day one ended we grabbed some grub and we went back to the hotel anxiously waiting to do it all over tomorrow. The line-up for this year’s fest has to be one of the best ever assembled for any festival. For a true fan of this genre, the opportunity to see all these amazing bands for three days of nonstop kick-ass performances is pretty mind-blowing. Now it was time for sleep.