The Rickshaw Theatre’s a wild place to see a show, let alone even get to. There’s a vibrant sting of energy in the area. You’re walking on the edge, and sometimes right into the middle, of a different world.
Wednesday night’s line-up was a stoner-banger’s wet dream. Salt Lake City’s Gaza shattered the ice at 9 p.m., performing a brutal and intense set steeped in doom, sludge, thrash, and post-whatever. According to their myspace (people still have those?), they sound like “Upside Down Jerry Falwell”. Gotta love it. It’s pretty accurate. Perhaps more accurate would be that they sound like Falwell’s blood-choked gurgle as he hangs, meat-hooked from his feet, praying and paying for the very Sins he’s been profiting on for decades. Facing sideways on the cramped stage to make sure he didn’t fall off, Gaza’s towering frontman balanced the blasphemous vitriol coming out of his mouth with some humour – “I really like that you guys use the same cleaner for the microphone as you do for your bathroom. It tastes exactly the same.”
The dynamic duo that is Black Cobra followed and regaled us with their stoner thrash’n’roll. The room had filled out nicely by now, and permeating the air was the disgustingly intoxicating mix of sweat, beer, pot, meat and one pretty young thing’s perfume. “That’s a lot of energy for two people,” she turned to me and said. Well put. Motoring through a tight collection of fuzzy, pounding riffs, Black Cobra sounded at times like a halting, enormous woolly beast shot full of arrows that stumbled and leaned but would just not fall and die.
We grooved to Beenie Man’s “Who Am I” while Torche (Miami, FL) got their things together. Despite a few minor technical glitches, the foursome performed a solid set of amped up, hard-driving rock. I found myself enjoying them more and more with every tune they pulled out. The set became progressively more sludgy and gristly, and Rick Smith led everyone, including his band mates, right through to the end with his contagious energy and inspired drumming. The man also has some of the coolest belly hair I’ve ever seen. No homo.
We got some air after Torche and sampled the kookiness that is East Hastings at night. I had the pleasure of meeting the lovely Caya, with whom I bonded over a shared appreciation for the late Bill Hicks. We both agreed that it really was all just a ride and that we were an imagination of ourselves. Psychedelic.
Corrosion of Conformity lead guitarist Woodroe “Woody” Weatherman hit the stage ready to give the crowd the final blow of the night with mates Reed Mullin (drums) and Mike Dean (bass, vocals). Stoner thrash was on the menu tonight and COC happily obliged, serving up heavy, bongwater-soaked grooves. The pit got a little nasty too, with some hardcore fans playing chicken, shouting “Psychic vampire!” One sweaty, black leather jacket-clad reveler slammed right through two of the front barriers and was promptly crammed right back through by security. Another rager was visibly losing his shit in all this chaos, throwing himself on unsuspecting bangers up front. One flying elbow and Undertaker-worthy body slam later, the lad calmed right down.
All in all, Wednesday night at the Rickshaw proved to be the perfect mix of bands, booze and beautiful metal babes.
Photo by: Daniel Robichaud