Day two of Psycho continued to amaze with another awe-inspiring line-up. This festival was truly the Mecca for stoner and doom metal. More great memories were burned into my brain. Check out my review of day 1 here.
Subrosa at The Joint was the first band I saw at 2 pm. I unfortunately got there a little late and missed most of “Despair is a Siren,” my favorite track from their new album that just came out the day before. They played three songs in their 40 minute timeslot. It’s cool how four of the members all sang at different points. The contrast in their songs was really emphasized, particularly in their last number, “The Usher”. Those quiet moments make the heavy ones so much stronger. The twin violin attack was devastating as well. I just wish they had more time!
Next up at The Joint was one of the curve balls the festival threw, The Budos Band. They are an instrumental Jazz group influenced by the Ethiopian style of Jazz. Giving them a listen in preparation for Psycho, I knew I couldn’t miss them. They have this unique dark moody sound that is totally dance-able. A lot of their material sounds like it could have been soundtrack music from the ’60s or ’70s. “Ride or Die,” “Black Venom,” and “Burnt Offering” were their stand-out tracks. “Black Venom” in particular is a hip-shaker. The eight-piece group left me satisfied, but curious.
Mondo Drag played next at the Vinyl. I’ve seen them before, but their psychedelic grooves were too tempting to miss. Their set was plagued with technical issues (the Vinyl seemed to have that recurring problem). The band still trailed on, with eclectic and beautiful numbers like “Zephyr,” “Plumajilla,” and “Out of Sight”. Each song they write feels distinct from the rest, I can’t get enough of their variety. There are countless influences and styles at play here. The way the guitars interact with the keyboards is wonderful. I need more Mondo Drag in my life.
After I took a long break, Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats rocked The Joint. This is my fourth time seeing them, and they’re still a joy to witness. They played all the crowd pleasers: “Mt. Abraxas,” “Mind Crawler,” “Death’s Door,” “I’ll Cut You Down,” and “Melody Lane”. A mosh pit was raging during the whole set. I’ve read a major criticism of them live: the vocals are weak. Sometimes the instruments do overpower the singing, though overall it’s par for the course. However, on the vocally-driven “Melody Lane,” they were pretty shaky. On this tour, they brought along Ruby the Hatchet keyboard player Sean Hur, though he was only on for a song or two. High on Fire were on before Uncle Acid and caused a ten minute delay, causing them to have a shorter set. I still enjoyed my time with the group.
Up next at The Joint were Blue Oyster Cult. Whenever I told people who aren’t into metal I was going to a festival in Vegas I would always say “Yeah, Alice Cooper and Blue Oyster Cult are playing,” because those are the only household name bands here. I definitely saw a lot of baby boomers in the audience for this one, understandably so. The group still had it after all these years. They played their usual hits along with some deep cuts. “Don’t Fear the Reaper” continues to be a great track. It has the beautiful groove with a message behind it which I can get behind.
Stoner metal vets Acid King played at the Paradise Pool mostly during the BOC set. This was my one major conflict. Since I had already seen Acid King and not BOC, and I knew that I would not go out of my way to see BOC, I went with them. I was able to catch the last song and a half of Acid King. They ended with the title track from their latest record, Middle of Nowhere, Center of Everywhere. Not a big fan of that song, but the album overall is excellent. I’m glad they’ve really embraced their new material live. They had a second guitarist playing, a first for them. Not sure if this is a permanent thing or a one-off, but I don’t think it added much.
Doom giants Electric Wizard headlined Saturday. People were so pumped for the British band, a pit was roaring the whole time. Their set was actually frightening, in a horror movie kind of way. The combination of the malevolent riffs and the horror clips playing next to the stage made a haunting atmosphere, along with the crazy amount of smoke in the crowd. The quartet was heavy through and through. They performed their usual exquisite numbers like “Black Mass,” “Return Trip,” “Incense for the Damned,” and “Funeralopolis”. All these and others were utterly destructive. It felt as if the band was ringing in the apocalypse itself, conjuring dark and mysterious forces beyond our control. Needless to say, it was very memorable.
Day two for me had fewer sets, but still had the same impact. The Budos Band and Electric Wizard were definite highlights. The unconventional vibes from the former and the crushing heaviness of the latter are examples of how great the festival was. You got your usual bands of the stoner/doom genre with some oddballs mixed in for variety. I had to take a well-needed rest for the last day. Check out my review for the last day here.