Interstellar agents of sonic psychedelia were back. Earthless momentarily touched down at Montreal’s Fairmount Theatre alongside Sacri Monti and Maggot Heart. From the silky slide guitar smoothness of Sacri Monti, to the heavy disco-driven distortion of Maggot Heart, and of course the timeless and spaceless rock of Earthless, this show was a melting pot for all things groovy and destructive.
Sacri Monti pulled the curtains back to start the show. A duo of single-coiled guitars swept the sweet echoes of Pink Floyd and Allman Brothers across the room. The presence of some slide guitar added a lot to the atmosphere to the sound along with keys and bass that helped push the air right up to the top of your lungs. Their sound was massive and their style free wheelin’. “Fear and Fire” was a ridiculous track that showcased the different frequencies the band could roll at. The song is as soft as a surrealistic pillow and as blinding as looking at the sun with naked eyes. Somewhere in the world, someone made a stellar decision to have them on the same bill as Earthless. Dive into their latest LP Waiting for the Magic Hour and peel back some layers of time.
Time for a quick upshift and boom all of a sudden you’re neck-deep in the meanest disco-driven stoner grooves you never knew existed. Maggot Heart hail from Germany and brought that quintessential bold strut to their stuff. The energy for the vicious dance tunes emanated from a drummer who was head-down and hard at work the entire show. Faceless Uno Bruniusson was ripping into his kit and everyone in the room noticed it. Up front, former The Oath guitarist Linnéa Olsson led the charge. The band played loud and heavy through a simple set up that helped deliver the proper punch of a power trio. They played the entirety of their 2017 EP City Girls, as well as half of their latest LP Dusk to Dusk. For lovers of proto-punk rock, Maggot Heart is the tab for you.
Much like when the psychical dimensions of the tab have melted away, we were now in the twilight zone. There was a big bang and all of a sudden the entire universe had existed forever. To paraphrase Bill Burr’s comment on his Earthless experience; the band started their show with the kind of explosiveness that most bands end with. Mario Rubalcaba, Isaiah Mitchell, and Mike Eginton buckled down into a jam and took everyone for a wild ride. They must have gone a solid half an hour from their start without stopping. Mitchell’s treble powered tone was a disorienting beam of clean and mean voodoo magic. It was a full-blown sonic assault that was exhausting to even just watch. Rubalcaba’s kit was pushed front and center and watching him swing around that kit for so long was incredible. Eginton was locked into the deep pocket and was absolutely the reason why you’re head was grooving the entire time.
With their latest release Black Heaven, the band has incorporated vocals into their music for the first time. “Electric Flame,” and a cover of Groundhogs’ “Cherry Red,” showed off Mitchell’s twangy southern-sounding pipes, although they were buried beneath the musical load. It was great to see the different dimensions of the Earthless universe. They’ve escaped the pigeon-hole of instrumental psych music and flashed a lot of blues mojo while doing so. After being called back to the stage to deliver more galactic beats, they ripped into a cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Communication Breakdown” complete with a classic Earthless jam. They proceeded to collect their things and zap away into the space-time continuum, to be heard only at another time and place.
Written by Ben Cornel
*edited by Danielle Kenedy