Sludge and doom metal fans in Montreal have been spoiled lately. After programming Conan and Dopethrone a few weeks back, Katacombes did it again, this time with Weedeater, Black Wizard, and Serial Hawk. I grabbed my battle vest and my camera and moseyed down to boulevard Saint-Laurent. Getting there a bit early, I took the time to enjoy the nice weather and a cold one on the terrace.
Kicking off the night were Serial Hawk from Seattle, Washington. I only listened to a couple of their songs before the show, seeing as they describe themselves as a “band that truly needs to be experienced live.” Were they right? Absolutely. The sludgy wall of sound they deployed for these thirty minutes or so made heads nod back and forth. They kind of reminded me of Conan, but with progressive, and even grungy, Seattle-style overtones. They played songs from their first (and only) album, Searching for Light, as well as three new tunes, as I was told by guitarist Will Bassin (or was it bassist Adam Holbrook? Sorry guys, it was dark, and you kinda look alike).
After another terrace break and a stop at the merch table, it was time for Black Wizard to take the stage. Coming from Vancouver, BC, these guys had been on my radar for awhile, and I’d heard great things about their shows. And holy hell, the hype wasn’t exaggerated. Despite the tiny stage of Katacombes, these guys showed incredible energy and stage presence. I was genuinely surprised that their balls-to-the-wall, old-school stoner rock didn’t make the crowd go wilder… There was still a meter or so of empty space in front of the stage. That didn’t stop me from thoroughly enjoying their set, and I should add that the sound was really good.
The crowd was getting more dense as it became time for Weedeater to grace us with their presence. Frontman Dave “Dixie” Collins climbed up on stage, sat down on a monitor speaker, and enjoyed a beer while the band was setting up. With his bushy beard, crazed look, and trucker hat, that dude looks like he’s coming straight from redneck country (which is probably the case, as the band is from North Carolina). This transpires in their music as well, especially live, creating an unsettling atmosphere that makes you feel like you’re lost in the swamps somewhere in the deep South. However this is counterbalanced by tongue-in-cheek jokes and references to lighten the mood. Their performance was phenomenal, between Collins spazzing out and screeching into the mic, drummer Travis Owen pounding away on the drums, and guitarist Dave “Shep” Sheppard delivering some of the most vicious and heavy riffs in doom metal. Their set list was a good overview of their discography, with songs from their latest opus Goliathan like the title track, and “Cain Enabler,” as well as older material like “Jason… The Dragon” and “God Luck and Good Speed.”
I left the show pumped up and ready for more, and I hope I get to see them again soon. Hats off to Extensive Enterprise for making it happen!
Written and Photographed by Thomas Gentil
*edited by Kate Erickson