Saturday, March 7, 2015
March 7, 2015-- Druids, live at Gabe's
Gabe's. There were only three acts. Things were weird though... the Facebook page for the event claimed things would get started at 7 o'clock but the venue's site claimed it would be about 8 o'clock. I arrived early and was a little perturbed when neither time saw a band take the stage... But when the show started, I was entertained.
First up was a group called This Side of Damage. I'm under the impression this is an extremely new band since I am the only one to have liked their Facebook page as of RIGHT NOW. The duo consisted of a vocalist and guitarist. They used a drum machine in place of an additional member. The vocalist also used a megaphone in place of a microphone. I was skeptical at first how this would work, but it was able to cut through the PAs and amps clearly. This was one of the few times I was able to make out a screamer's lyrics and I loved it. This avant-garde group made my mind jump to Jucifer; their sound was a little bit of everything. Their set was two songs; I'm extremely curious to see where they go in the future.
The next band was Obsidian Sword, a trio. This was the group's first performance in Iowa City. I was astounded by the heaviness and tightness of their performance. However, their weakness is in their songwriting. The riffs seemed predictable, as if I had heard them before in a previous band; perhaps Windhand, now that I think about it. A friend I was with said one of their songs was essentially "a bad Mastodon song". But hey, even a bad Mastodon song is a good song, right? These guys have a lot of talent; they just need to hone their creativity and they'll realize their true potential. I can see these guys making a name for themselves.
And then, finally, Druids took the floor. Now, I've already hinted that I like these guys based off of their recorded work. But live... WOW! A friend I attended the show with compared their performance to "Iron Maiden doing doom" and I can't help but feel that this is fitting description. Guitarist Luke Rauch captivated me. The sounds that echoed from his fingers transported me to the Seventies, yet it was like nothing I had ever heard; it felt like his solos and licks were ripped out of an ancient time, yet the more I thought about them I couldn't place them among any artist I knew. It was totally original and beautiful. Keith Rich's sludgy bass and Rauch's savage screams blended into that to create something that was totally raw and energizing. Their set was cut short and left me wanting more, which is exactly what a band should do. I'd love to see these guys tour with Eyehategod or Crowbar. Perhaps they can play Psycho California sometime?
Catch them if you can!