Stoner/doom bands Weedeater, Black Wizard, and Serial Hawk were on a joint summer tour together. Emphasis on joint. They happened to stop by in Philadelphia at the Kung Fu Necktie, a quaint grungy dive bar that hosts a plethora of killer bands. Local support came from the ethereal God Root.
Avant-garde heavy-hitters God Root opened the night, and this was the record release show for their new EP, Salt and Rot. They have a special brand of darkness that is hard to describe. Doomy, yet experimental in nature, their soundscape features consciously repetitive gloomy riffs, overlaid elongated roaring wails, and all kinds of background (and sometimes foreground) noises. There is both sadness and rage in their delivery. This group is pushing the boundaries and are definitely doing something unique in the increasingly over-saturated stoner/doom/sludge scene.
Seattle’s own Serial Hawk was second. The trio delivered the goods for sure, but their drummer completely stole the show from my point of view. I think he may have been a temporary fill-in, but I can’t really tell from my research. Though his drumming wasn’t too complex, every hit was purposeful and punishing. He was loud and impactful. Normally I’m not a fan when the drums overpower the other instruments at a show, but here it felt fine.
Playing penultimate was Black Wizard from British Columbia, Canada. I went into this show not having heard them at all, but they had an intriguing blend of doom and thrash metal that was really appealing, weaving between the two styles wonderfully. The group even had some NWOBHM vibes. They had plenty of tasty Sabbathian riffs for old school metalheads like myself to eat up. Black Wizard is on my radar now for sure.
Weedeater came on at 11, with frontman Dave Dixie making his usual funny faces at the audience with a bottle of whiskey in hand. Right when they started, a mosh pit broke out, initiated by the guy in the chicken outfit at every Maryland Deathfest. This huge pit lasted throughout the whole set and was pretty sizeable for the not-so-large Kung Fu Necktie. The people in the pit went crazy on fuzz alone at the beginning of each song. You could practically taste the reefer resin in Weedeater’s sound. They have that perfect slow and low bluesy sludge tone. Sometimes bands with that kind of sound can get very redundant very fast, but they manage to keep it interesting. And that voice I swear is a southern demon. Facemelting to say the least. Dixie flipped off the audience at the end with his middle finger corking his whiskey. Very fitting.