All Souls, Dale Crover Band, Flying Hair at The Hi Hat, Sunday September 2nd 2018
On Sunday, All Souls, a band I had seen opening for Sleep a few months ago, was headlining the night at the Hi-Hat, although the entire evening looked promising, with two very interesting opening bands such as Flying Hair and the Dale Crover Band of Melvins fame.
The set of Flying Hair was such a hypnotic ride! The quartet, which consists of Bobby Martin, Brian Fox, Kurt Mangum, and Matthew Clark, played a heavy psychedelic tunneling fuzz, that they were building into a sonic monster, with loud guitar, driven bass, crashing drums and spacey electronics, before crashing into some sludgy or cinematic results. One of their catchy numbers especially was slowly developing like a romantic drama, getting as passionate as a Black Sabbath song mingling into a Morricone soundtrack. Their too-short set also offered more krautrock-y compositions floating inside a compact space, building a full wall of psychedelic sound haunted by distant voices.
A lot of Melvins fans had gathered for the second band, the Dale Crover band, featuring Steven MacDonald (of many bands including OFF!, the Melvins and Redd Kross) on bass, Toshi Kasai on keyboard/guitar, Mindee Jorgensen on drums and of course Dale Crover on vocals, guitar, and additional drums. Crover, who has been the drummer of the Melvins for decades, was even in Nirvana for a time (he plays drums on a few songs of ‘Bleach’), and has released a solo album, The Fickle Finger of Fate in 2017. His all-star band played a few of these funny named songs, (‘Bad Move’, ‘HillBilly Math’, ‘Thunder Pinky’, ‘Sickle Finger of Fate’, ‘Big Uns’, ‘Little Brother’, ‘I Found the Way Out’, as well as the Melvins ‘Flamboyant Duck’.The result was a bit experimental but certainly explosive with plenty of surprising effects fueled by an energy coming for all sides of the stage. Crover’s vocals were commanding the game while the rhythmic section – Jorgensen’s powerful drumming combined with MacDonald’s loud bass – was sculpting the songs filled with unexpected stop-and-restarts, angular accelerations and plain sonic weirdness and dissonance à la Sonic Youth, completed by a psychedelic ‘70s organ during a few songs. Their set didn’t sound like anything I had heard before, to be honest, and when Crover doubled the beats using another additional drumset on the front of the stage, the songs were all beats and voices, pulsating into repetitive thunders, rising and plummeting in a chaos of noise rock.
All Souls were headlining the night and they smashed the Hi-Hat with a ravaging rocking sound, layered with guitars and one of the fastest and pulverizing drumming I have witnessed for a long time. But this should not come as a surprise as drummer Tony Tornay is one of these desert rockers, and was part of the scene that gave birth to Kyuss, Queens of the Stone Age, Eagles of Death Metal… As the drummer of Fatso Jetson, he was also part of Josh Homme’s ‘Desert Sessions’ project, Linda Perry’s ‘Deep Dark Robot’, while the rest of the band – Erik Trammell on guitar (Black Elk, Brothers Collateral, and Wadsworth), Tony Aguilar on guitar and vocals, and Meg Castellanos on bass (both from Totimoshi) – has gravitated around that same stoner-rock scene since the ‘90s. All Souls sounded unstoppable, building a loud sound, both melodic and chaotic, driven by a powerful force, which smelt like the dust of a burning desert road. It was powerful rock ‘n’ roll, with the effect of a violent tornado sweeping the place in one big riff, and you could undoubtedly feel where they were coming from…. the band released their debut and self-titled album with producer Toshi Kasai (Tool, The Melvins, Foo Fighters) in 2018. The heavy layered guitars built a violent tempest and a tense atmosphere, like an epic thunder going into many directions, or a mad and combative beast that could rebel with a dark and somber mood. The song ‘Sadist/Servant’ was especially reflecting this combination between epic dark metal and emotional melodies, accentuated by Aguilar’s determined vocals… All Souls’music was an intricate and complex sound, but this could have also been said about the two previous bands of the night,… so that, at the end of the show, a scorching wind was blowing inside the Hi Hat.