Thursday, February 26, 2009

Stoned & Droned: Witch and Earthless Live


It's odd hearing people break out into applause over a drummer's sound check. But I guess when that drummer is slacker legend J Mascis, all bets are off. Which would also justify the amount of paparazzi-like sleuths who snuck in snapshots of the gray-haired Dinosaur Jr. founder as he set up his kit. Then again, maybe all the attention was appropriate since tonight's bill of Mascis' Witch, plus Earthless and Children was completely drummer-centric.


Though I neglected Children due to a Lost-induced time suck, I managed to get my ass to the Music Hall of Williamsburg in time to see the brilliant stoner psychedelia of Earthless. The instrumental trio were a joy to watch, and it's no wonder why they placed drummer Mario Rubalcaba's kit dead center on the stage. Even with his minimalist, rose-glitter setup, the guy rocks like Animal, and sets the tone for Earthless' sunny but trippy freeform sound. Earthless inspired tons of head-bopping and hippie dancing in the process; easily reminding me that these guys are pure West Coast flower power. I look forward to seeing them again at High Times' Doobie Awards (and putting Rubalcaba on my make out list).


Headliners Witch took a very different approach. Sounding like a modern day Grand Funk Railroad with punk sensibilities, the newjack heshers ripped through tracks from both their self-titled debut as well as their brand-new opus, Paralyzed. More thunderous and dirty than Earthless, Witch are the perfect band to grind to—which would also explain the tons of skateboards I saw at the gig. Overall, it was a great night of stoner rock with nary a boring moment. Light 'em if you got 'em—and be sure to check out Earthless next month if you're in Austin.

For more crappy pix, click HERE.

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