Uncle Acid / Ruby the Hatchet / Ecstatic Vision @Union Transfer, Philadelphia (USA) – 13th September 2015

It further proved to me that heavy metal concerts are the closest thing I feel to a religious experience.

Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats have been on a roll as of late. Their recently released fourth album is an excellent addition to their discography, with plenty of stand-out songs. The band just started a lengthy U.S. tour along with Philadelphia-local bands Ruby the Hatchet and Ecstatic Vision. I couldn’t be more excited when I heard this line-up announced at Philly’s own Union Transfer (hometown show!). The crowd slowly came in when the doors opened, but plenty were there when the first opener, Ecstatic Vision, took the stage.

Uncle Acid The Night Creeper Tour


I saw Ecstatic Vision in the Summer of 2014 along with Mount Salem. The band had only recently started at the time, but left quite an impression on me. Their fast-paced Hawkwind-esque psychedelia was entrancing. Since then, they have unleashed their debut record, Sonic Praise, and have gained quite a following.

They started the show with a bang, playing the first track off their record, “Journey”. The band had some serious energy, playing rapid, hallucinating acid rock. The front man looks like Lemmy, sounds like Rob Zombie and was relentless with his shredding. The drummer had a workout, banging out those tribal-like beats for “Astral Plane”. The bassist kept it simple and they had a fourth member playing all kinds of instruments: the sax, keys, flute, and… cowbell? All of the members worked in sync with each other to deliver some intense trippiness. Good psych rock makes you feel like you’re high even if haven’t had a toke of weed. And that’s what Ecstatic Vision did. With the addition of crazy lights from above and below, it was a visual and auditory onslaught. Nothing short of great.

Ecstatic Vision Setlist:
1. Journey
2. Astral Plane
3. Don’t Kill the Vibe


This is the third time I’ve seen Ruby the Hatchet this year, and they only keep getting better. Their sophomore album, Valley of the Snake, is my favorite album of the year. The group gave an electrifying performance, playing most of their latest album as well as new song, “The Fool”. I can’t get enough of the band’s heavy psych, which evokes a bit of Sabbath and Uncle Acid, though they are very distinct in their own way. Their riffs and melodies are all killer. Singer Jillian Taylor has some excellent pipes, and drummer Owen Stewart adds some vocal harmonies to the mix. They ended their set perfectly with “Tomorrow Never Comes”, a stand out doom track. It sounds so malevolent and apocalyptic, I can’t help but instinctively bang my head in a mantra-like way to it.

Ruby the Hatchet Setlist:
1. Intro
2. Heavy Blanket
3. Demons
4. The Fool
5. Vast Acid
6. The Unholy Behemoth
7. Tomorrow Never Comes


I’ve been writing too much about Uncle Acid recently. If you haven’t heard them, change that. The stage was set up with street lights and a brick wall background to add to the mood. The elusive Uncle Acid and his deadbeats strolled onto the stage with only the street lamps illuminating them. They kicked off with the opener of the new record, “Waiting for Blood”. The crowd was going nuts, and for good reason. The band kicked so much ass, with killer riff after killer riff. They have quickly become one of my favorite bands with their brand of creepy, occult doom metal. Their setlist included material from all four of their albums, with five tracks from The Night Creeper and the best of Blood Lust. A mosh pit started with the song “Pusher Man”, fittingly enough. Front man Kevin Starrs‘ long hair kept obscuring his face, adding to his magnetism.

They had an encore, though oddly the quality dropped. They started with “Melody Lane”, my favorite track from the new album. It was comparatively pretty weak to the studio version due to an underlying issue: the vocals were too quiet. This happens way too often at shows. I didn’t mind it much until this track because the refrain is very vocal-based. “Ritual Knife” was next and is another of my favorites from the band, but it was also sub-par. It did not make me want to ritualistically sacrifice someone like the album version does. Luckily, they ended with “Withered Hand of Evil” which picked up the quality.

I really enjoyed this show. Every band brought their A-game. I came to really appreciate Ecstatic Vision, Ruby the Hatchet continued to shine and Uncle Acid performed an exemplary setlist with grit. It further proved to me that heavy metal concerts are the closest thing I feel to a religious experience. I can’t wait to see all three of these bands again in the future.

Uncle Acid Setlist:
1. Waiting for Blood
2. Murder Nights
3. Mind Crawler
4. Death’s Door
5. Poison Apple
6. 13 Candles
7. Pusher Man
8. I’ll Cut You Down
9. Inside
10. Crystal Spiders
11. Vampire Circus

12. Melody Lane
13. Ritual Knife
14. Withered Hand of Evil


More Ecstatic Vision:

More Ruby the Hatchet:

More Uncle Acid:

About Spencer (145 Articles)
Spencer Maxwell is a filmmaker and devoted metalhead. His favorite genres are heavy and doom metal, with his top bands being Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Candlemass, Pentagram, and Saint Vitus.

1 Comment on Uncle Acid / Ruby the Hatchet / Ecstatic Vision @Union Transfer, Philadelphia (USA) – 13th September 2015

  1. Last night, I noticed Starrs has a binder with the lyrics to the songs in front. That may be why he keeps his head down and hair in his face! :)

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