Thursday night was a time for doom and witches. After a rough week, it felt good to cut it down a bit with a show, especially one with a strong lineup. Though the room at La Vitriola wasn’t very packed considering the certain popularity of the headliners in the doom scene, every band had something different to play. It was a loud night, filled with riffs, some riffs, and more riffs. Witch Mountain, the headliners, were a new band for me. I had heard whispers coming from the dark corners of my mind about their insane music, but I had never explored said corners. The night of August 2nd night, I got it right in the face.
The Doom Blues trio Pink Cocoon opened to a scattered crowd. To play in front of a dead crowd is never fun, but they ripped through their bluesy instrumental “Evil Mood,” like it was the last time they would ever play. Marcangelo Zola, the mastermind behind Pink Cocoon, never lets down. Though he apparently knows very little of beard care, he sure plays a mean guitar. Julian Iacovantuöno, the groove master, plays bass just as well as he shines his hair, which means incredibly well. His bass fills and coordination with drummer Morgan Zwicker make the music tight and heavy. With trusty pedals and multiple influences, the Pink Cocoon sound is a force to be reckoned with. My only complaint lies with the drummer, who needs to hit louder. His timing is perfect, but in a band like this, the extra push behind each crash or drum fill makes a difference. We even got treated to a Black Sabbath cover, “Snowblind,” with an extra bit of Pink Cocoon spice in the mix.
Nightwitches played what felt like a short set, but that might just be me. Bringing some two-piece magic to the night with Andrea on guitar and Mandy on drums. They play an interesting breed of doom, going for the extremely slow and monotone feel. Though I totally understand the appeal for this genre, I had a few problems with the set. First of all, the singer was not loud enough. No other band had a problem with their vocals, so I assumed she just wasn’t singing that loud. Their tone is out of this world and didn’t feel empty, but the repetitive riffs and tempo made it all seem like one long song. Call me picky, but I like my music with some groove and harmony, even if you are playing doom, there’s always a way to add some spice to the music. Still, the performance itself was good, with the musicians being perfectly timed with each other.
Unfortunately, the crowd had not grown any larger by the time Witch Mountain took the stage. But the people were hungry for music and Witch Mountain fed them their doomy buffet. Starting the set with “Burn you down,” a song from their new record Witch Mountain, singer Kayla Dixon immediately blew me away with her incredible vocals. Mixing some gospel with growls is something I had never heard before and it packs a punch. Accompanied by Rob Wrong on guitar, Justin Brown on bass, and Nathan Carson on drums, Witch Mountain presented a familiar type of doom, but with such intensity they had me headbanging all night. Special mention to the song “Midnight,” also on their new record, which was my favourite. It has a slower tempo, but her voice and the melody is incredible. It’s almost danceable, but as soon as her vocals go higher all you want to do is run into people.
I do have to say though, there was something off about their tone. The bass was extremely loud and clear, which is always nice, but the guitar sounded lower and distant as if Rob was playing in the background. His solos were on point but didn’t feel loud enough. That being said, even with earplugs, I could definitely still rock out to his licks and solos. I can’t complain about the people though, they are all extremely nice and humble. After buying a record, they were all super enthusiastic and happy to sign it, chatting with me about music and the show. Great people!
A great night with great music, as usual. I strongly recommend checking all these bands out, giving them a chance and supporting them. Musicians put their heart and soul into their music and it shows when they are performing on stage.
Written by Johnathan Robinson
Photography by Michael Kovacs
*edited by Mike Milito