Weedeater + Black Wizard, 21 June 2017 at Mavericks in Ottawa

Well, it was great a opportunity, and that doesn’t happen much anymore, for this contributor to go see a show on a Wednesday night. And it would not have been without friends in Black Wizard putting me on the guest list.

I got to the show late because of traffic and deciding upon which pub in the ByWard Market to get some grub at, so I missed the first two bands but did catch King Buffalo. They played a fun set containing some great psych jams and grooving tunes. Vocalist / guitarist Sean McVay uses his Hagstrom semi-hollow to full effect, riffing some sounds not far off from classic Hawkwind with some hypnotic parts that really feel full bodied and hearty. One might say King Buffalo would fit right in with the Harsh Toke and Earthless crowd.

Next up was Serial Hawk, hailing from Seattle, Washington. When asked where his influences come from, guitarist / vocalist Will Bassin said, “everywhere,” and during their set it was on full display. The sounds ranged from drone, sludge, to doom and even some post-metal rhythms. Another highlight was Kevin Swartz’s percussive punishing style that pushed the music to new slow steamrolling heights, and he was also supporting the great Immortal Bird via his T-shirt.

Following Serial Hawk was Black Wizard. The boys played a fun set consisting of some older songs and lots off their most recent release, New Waste, which this music reviewer talked about last January [see Black Wizard – New Waste review]. The ripping set might be said to sound like music heard in the early 80s or late 70s. The classic sounds of Priest, Motorhead, Thin Lizzy and other hard rock legends could clearly be heard. But the band has always had affection for some more recent doom and stoner sounds from the likes of Sleep and Witch and the former can be found in Adam Grant’s fantastic vocal delivery, which is sometimes screamed, sometimes spoken and yelled, and everything in between. This might mean versatility to many, but Black Wizard just use it to incite more head nodding and folks jumping around during their songs.

New guitarist Danny Stokes plays some fantastic leads and is a great addition to an already great line up. Justin Hagberg (formerly of Three Inches of Blood) is filling in on bass for this tour and he did an incredible job keeping the rhythmic grooves of Black Wizard on a crisp straight line or as close to it as possible. And Eugene Parkomenko bangs the drums as if he was the last dude on earth to enjoy playing classic metal and hard rock, and his smile and upbeat playing style is nothing less than infectious.

Lastly the Three Stooges of Sludge (as my friend G. G. likes to call them), aka Weedeater, took the stage. I’m sad to say it’s been along while since I’ve seen them live (I think it was back in 2010 when they played the Annex Wreckroom with Gates of Slumber and Black Tusk). The hum of Dixie’s Sunn (((O))) cabinets always catches many listeners by surprise, as the power and feedback is undeniably crushing. The beat hasn’t lost a step in the time since I saw them last. Dixie Dave’s onstage movements, playing, fun (including the drinking of a bottle of Jim Beam whiskey) and antics make it worth double the price of admission.

With a new drummer in tow the band sound fantastic and ripped through many classics, including a ZZ top cover. I feel like when I say Weedeater never disappoint I’m not alone and that Dave “Dixie”, Dave “Shep”, and whoever is playing drums live (this night it was Carlos Denogean) always provide a munchie filled treat and experience to behold sonically and visually.