PSYCHO LAS VEGAS Day Two Recap

Electric Wizard was the biggest draw of Day Two–and perhaps the entire festival, with the possible exception of Sleep. But I was looking forward to seeing SoCal stoner legends Acid King just as much, if not more. Not sure if Lori S. and co have ever played Toronto, but if so, it was well before I moved here in ’05. Throw in killer sets by Boris, Bongripper and Matt Pike’s first shirtless appearance of the weekend, and you had a pretty solid Saturday. (Somebody said they saw him fully clothed at the casino bar, but surely that must’ve been an illusion!)

I got off to a slightly later start today after eating too much spicy food. My first band of the afternoon was the only local act on the bill–Las Vegas doomsters Demon Lung. I’ve always gotten a kick out of the fact that this Satanic horror doom band hails from Sin City, and they’ve made some solid strides with their sophomore album. They certainly started things off on a sombre note.

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I chose to stick around for Mondo Drag solely based on the fact that they had a cooler-sounding name than the other band going on around 4 pm. These guys are from Oakland, but sound more like San Diego–think Earthless instead of Sleep. As their name suggests, their psych sounds were pretty chill, and they held the distinction of being the only band I saw with both a Hammond and a Moog on stage.

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Now, I was really looking forward to seeing German stoner rockers Colour Haze, but it seems they were the only band that was denied entry into the United States. As a result of this switcharoo, we got to see Boris play the main stage instead. I had originally planned on skipping them, since their poolside set would’ve overlapped with Electric Wizard–and I had just seen ’em play Toronto a couple weeks beforehand. But I’m glad I got to see ’em play Pink again, this time with audible vocals.

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Now, being that it’s a major concert venue at a large Las Vegas resort casino, I guess you’d expect that The Joint would have a pretty decent sound system. While I’ve seen High on Fire a handful of times at The Opera House (and once at Adelaide Hall) here in Toronto, this was probably the first time I could hear Matt Pike’s vocals in the mix. Of course, when you’ve got concert-hall headliners like Boris and HOF going on in the early evening, people don’t get as much of a soundcheck as they’re used to–and a problem with Pike’s pedalboard probably cut short their set, causing them to make some adjustments on the fly. Still sounded good to me, though!

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I actually took off a bit before HOF’s set ended because I really, really wanted to see Bongripper. And I wasn’t the only one with such a sudden urge–the lineup to get out to the Paradise Pool was the longest one I stood in all weekend, and I missed the first 10 minutes of their set. But with the decibels at which they were playing, you could hear Bongripper before you saw them. And if I was gonna bail on Pike, then it only seemed fitting to walk right into a sea of Sleep-inspired riffage…

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Blue Oyster Cult might have been one of the bigger names on the bill, but they still took the main stage before Electric Wizard. Alas, I couldn’t tell you whether or not they needed more cowbell, as I hung around the pool during their set, opting instead for some heavier fare. Jucifer used to play Toronto once a year, although I think they’ve stopped coming to Canada. While they made use of all available amplifiers on the outdoor stage, it was still a far cry from the wall of sound that washes over a typical Jucifer gig. I think the sound guy actually pulled the plug with two or three minutes to go (things were already running behind schedule), but they were still so loud that I don’t know if anyone noticed.

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Turns out I wasn’t the only one there to see Acid King–by the time they took the stage, the pool deck was packed. And while they sounded great on the (mostly new) tunes they played, they unfortunately had their set cut short–there was another band, Dutch rockers Death Alley, who had the misfortune of following them. (I would be surprised if they played to more than 30 people, what with the Wizard taking the stage around the same time.) Would love to see ’em get a longer set somewhere, though I realize that I’d likely have to travel to Europe to do so.

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Although these might be some of my shittiest pictures of the entire festival, Electric Wizard still put on a pretty amazing set. I just couldn’t get close enough to adequately capture it–they don’t give out photo passes to a guy with a Canon PowerShot!

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(My pictures from the third and final day of Psycho Las Vegas will probably be posted tomorrow. Stay tuned!)

Gruesome Greg

Seahawks/Stamps/Flames/Zags/Jays/Raptors fan and lifelong metal head with a beer gut and a self-deprecating sense of humour. Reviewer/blogger (Yon Senior Doomsayer) for Hellbound.ca.