Though I had heard many stories from several different sources about the awesomeness that is Turbo Haüs, this was my first time actually setting foot inside its snug confines. I’ll admit that I first walked right past it, mistaking it for a restaurant. Quickly backtracking, I entered the venue to a room dimly lit, the walls adorned with posters from previous shows held there. I found a seat by the bar behind about thirty eager attendees and prepared myself for the coming barrage of extreme heaviness and ferocity.
Openers Caustic Casanova wasted no time in tearing into my skull, with an instrumental sound laden with sludge and abrasive guitar screeching. They’re a three-piece band (guitar, bass and drums) from Washington D.C featuring dual vocals by bassist Francis Beringer and drummer Stefanie Zaenker. The quirky, ironic lyrics along with the near schizophrenic tempo changes and guitar phrasings of Andrew Yonki (great moustache!) reminded me of the Dead Kennedys. They were undoubtedly the most unique band of the night, and for every heavy stoner rock song segment they would unleash, there seemed to be a counterpoint moment of odd, trippy psychedelic-infused beauty. Keep an eye out for some new material in the very near future! And final applause to Francis Beringer for his wicked cool NBA jam t-shirt. Very badass.
It was a quick changeover to Horseburner from West Virginia. These guys put the pedal to the floor and did not release it the entire set – so much, in fact, that drummer Adam Nohe had the kick drum literally moving across the stage! The crisis was averted as a kindly crowd member moseyed on stage to re-position the drum as it continued to get pounded. It was about at this point that I started to regret not bringing earplugs. It was getting fucking LOUD in there, ladies and gentlemen! The long hair was flying as these four monsters in sleeveless T’s tore into some serious stoner-rock riffage. Singer and guitarist Jack Thomas’ vocals reminded me of a cross between Clutch singer Neil Fallon and early Mastodon. The guitars trudged along and implored you to bang your head as the drummer laid into the kit as if it had somehow personally offended him and he was dead set on destroying it. Nohe was one of the standout performers of the night for me as even he took some time on the mic to unleash some backing vocals and say a few words between songs, “We’re gonna play some songs and get outta your hair.” The band left the stage while the guitars continued to noisily distort and I was off to the bathroom to find some paper towel to shove in my ear canals.
Paper towel in ears, looking cool as fuck, I made my way back to the bar for another adult beverage just as Oakland, Maryland’s Cavern took to the stage (the tear downs and set ups were hella fast!). The lights were dimmed as they turned Turbo Haus into well…a cavern. Stephen Schrock (drums), Zach Harkins (guitar), and Mike Lorenzen (bass) displayed some insane musical talent as they soared through some incredibly loud and technical instrumental jams. At certain points throughout the songs Schrock would let out these chilling shrieks from behind the drum kit that would shock the audience back from the stoned-out trance the music inevitably dragged you into. Personally, I tend to struggle with instrumental acts, especially at a live show. So much of what I take away from a performance is in the vocals and lyrics. That said, the crowd really seemed to enjoy every ounce of what Cavern was pumping into the ether, heavy doses of doomy, stoned out post-rock madness.
Local act Laval closed out the night and took the aggressiveness to the next level! Singer Alex Kaluza was a man possessed as he tore through the crowd, essentially as the first chords of the first song were hit. Guitarist Brendan Mainville and bassist Preston Ward put their heads down and straight-up shredded on the song “Shakes,” my favourite moment of the night. Drummer Mike Niro went primitive on the drums, no shirt and tattoos on full display, he did everything but physically destroy the kit. The band worked themselves into a full frenzy of thrashy, borderline grindcore metal, and my ears were almost bleeding by this point. Kaluza seemed dead set on making sure his vocal chords would explode as he careened across the stage, swinging the mic cable in a trance. And then it was over almost as soon as it began, Kaluza dropping to the stage floor and pounding his fists as the final song rang out.
Props to Broken Chord for bringing these four bands together for what was one of the loudest, heaviest shows I’ve ever witnessed. And thanks to Turbo Haus for hosting this insane bill! The stories were indeed true; Turbo Haüs is a cool fucking joint! I can’t wait to make my way back there.
Written by Lee Ferguson
Photography by Thomas Gentil
*edited by Kate Erickson