When Vancouver’s Dead Quiet and Black Wizard hit the road to tour Canada together, they did it in style. The Guardians of the Gig Tour had what were easily my favourite tour name and poster I’ve witnessed in a long, long time. It tells you everything you need to know: they’re coming to rock out, and they’re coming to have a good time. This past Sunday at Turbohaus, it was time to see if the bands delivered on the marketing.
Before we could get to the Guardians themselves, we were treated to a set from local supporters Welwitsch, a three-piece doom band with Greg Bourke performing both drum and vocal duties. Not much out there to research on this band, so I went into their set mostly blind. I am glad to report that afterwards I could see. With solid musicianship and driving beats, they kicked off the night with a set that would impress any fan of Electric Wizard (no relation). For a band just getting started, they showed a tremendous level of maturity, and are definitely a local band to watch.
While Dead Quiet may have been second on the bill, they definitely had the biggest and most boisterous crowd. TurboHaus was packed for their set. This shouldn’t be a surprise, since they are fronted by local legend and former Barnburner frontman Kevin Keegan. I had the pleasure of reviewing their debut album a few months back, and I am happy to report it sounds even better live. The same great tunes were turned up to eleven.
There have few lineup changes since the recording, including the addition of keyboards provided by Justin Hagberg (formerly of 3 Inches of Blood), have added a new dimension to the sound. Although a more mature sound than Keegan’s former venture, he retains the charismatic and raucous energy he displayed in his Montreal days. A few new songs spliced into the set seemed ready to go, indicating that a second release can’t be too far away. This was indeed a successful homecoming. You could tell Keegan was enjoying it, and the rest of the band was feeding off of his energy. Easily one of the best sets this young venue has seen thus far.
Not to be outdone, Black Wizard came out hard and heavy with their brand of stoner rock. While the crowd had thinned out a bit during the intermission, most who stayed to check them out ended up staying until the end. This band has a larger than life stage presence and some good ol’ rock n’ roll to back it up.
While they lie on the heavier side, there was something about their energy that kept hearkening back to early Monster Truck shows in smaller venues. They were loud as all hell, brash and pounding. There were no wallflowers for this set, just some folks rocking the fuck out in the wee hours of the morning on a Sunday night.
I’ve heard whispers of the stoner metal scene in Vancouver, and it was great to witness it firsthand. A stellar night of great tunes and even better vibes. If these guys are guarding it, the gig is in good hands.
Prior to the show, we had a chance to sit down with Kevin Keegan of Dead Quiet for a little chat. Watch here.
Written by Richard Brunette
Photography by Nathan Hum
*edited by Kate Erickson