It’s late September and Team CB are Sheffield bound yet again for the second chapter of the annual HRH Stoner vs Doom shindig. Now as you will guess from the title it’s a fairly niche appeal, not one for your usual spandex wearing, denim and leather clad rockers and it attracts a fairly unique strain of the heavy metal fraternity. If you can’t find your way to the arena, just follow the serious looking fellas (and ladies) clad in obscure t-shirts and hoodies doing *that* concert walk.
You know the one.. arms swinging, look straight ahead..
Not us though, well not if we think anyone is looking. On arrival, Sheffield’s O2 Academy is already pretty damn busy. We’re sure it’s much busier than the same time last year and the main arena is already buzzing when opening band Kurokuma hit the stage. The band found out shortly before stage times that their set was actually twice the length they were expecting, so that gave them the opportunity to make everything extra slow and extra heavy. One track appeared to last the duration of a trip to cash machine and back. (Lost in Sheffield may I add).
There were going to be a lot of DOOOOOOM!!!! tectonic bowel movements over the next couple of days, but in terms of sheer weight few could match what Kurokuma had to offer.
In a change to the published running order (a minor one compared to the disappearance of the Sunday headliner admittedly), Red Spektor took the second slot on the main stage. Not a band we knew a great deal (anything) about but we soon got into their Bluesy stoner vibe. Now some of team CB are still not entirely sold on the idea of Doom, especially two solid days of it, but they do think they have discovered the formula for a perfect doom/stoner band. Just make a 3 minute song last 15 minutes. Well it works for jazz.
Oh, and if anyone is thinking about starting a Jazz Doom band, please don’t.
After the sluggish start on the main stage there was something a little different now opening up Arena 2 (as the Academy’s second stage is known this weekend). Now “bounce” wasn’t exactly a word that had sprung to mind thus far, but Barbarian Hermit soon had the packed room bobbing along before heading off to check out the “limited edition” march the band had brought to mark the occasion. They were getting a better reception than we’d seen on the main stage and the the Manchester 4 piece put on some show.
Sludgey, doomy and pretty damn good with one of those lead singers that looks slightly demonic while blasting out the vocals, and totally non-demonic when chatting to the crowd in-between. Lots of photos of snarling rage, interspersed with some happy smiley pix just to confuse future editors..
Last year at DVS we had split decisions on quite a few bands but one who we unanimously liked were local boys Regulus who were flying the flag for Sheffield’s scene for the second year in a row. Clearly crowd favourites they offer up a fine selection of party anthems (no, not really), pick n mix style but it works and they manage that most unique of feats on any genre specific festival, they’re truly memorable.
In a scene where the beard defines the man, nuff said. The almost trance like crowd are whipped into life with a cry of now “Let’s see you boogying” and are shimmying and going all footloose on us. “Who’s getting drunk right now? Who’s getting drunk later on?” we’re asked, and I think the answer is clearly “pretty much everyone”. Luke charms the crowd, who are lapping it up “You guys are a bit fucking awesome aren’t you” we’re told before he tries to get everyone to clap along.
Crowd participation, all be it a bit half arsed, but it’s definitely participation.
Another great festival slot for Regulus!
Boss Keloid have quickly become a firm favourite here at CB in some quarters, but some of the team are yet to experience the delights of Wigan’s finest.
It’s an explosive start to the set as the boys burst on to stage and belt out their gargantuan tunes. The newbies to Boss Keloid here at CB are very impressed by the fact they can decipher actual words. Easily impressed are Team CB…
Ye goods, its LOUD, Alex can really scream out a tune when he wants to. Our ears are getting a good clean out! Alex never really keeps still either. Coupled with a bit of a flowery shirt elsewhere; we get a little bit of motion sickness watching him drift and slither about on stage. That may also have something to do with the £5.30 Guinnes we’re drinking though. Ouch.
Boss Keloid are certainly something a bit different. Well as different as doom and stoner bands can get. But that’s much needed at a gig like this.
Not sure where the name comes from, did we spell Boss Keloid correctly? 😉
Quick change to the proceedings.. Saturday night in sunny Sheffield. Fine cuisine a la Mcdonalds. Would be rude not to. And back up to the arena for more of the same.
Another new-to-us name up next on the main stage. Deville’s intro rolls.. on and on and on. And on and on… before the band hit the stage. You don’t see a lot of pointy guitars at a Doom gig, so the neat Explorer is worthy of note. The band certainly look the part, or would if we could actually see them with the minimal lighting rig, maybe the O2 need to put another pound in the meter.
We’re immediately impressed by the vocals but, well, by the end of the first couple of songs we were still waiting for something to happen. The silhouetted figures on the stage are throwing good shapes but at times this sounds like the most normal metal band of the day so far. It’s not that Deville are bad but maybe a bit too tame for this bill and are greeted by a polite, if rather static crowd. We are assured the party is about to start but it never really does. “Clap your hands. Fucking beautiful. Cheers”. and, yep, there were some movement from the crowd.
And us, we moved to the second stage for something much more upbeat and a lot less, erm, dull.
It not just down to the lack of main stage appeal that the second stage appears to fill up quickly, where Steak proceed to blow us away. It’s pretty straight forward old fashioned stoner rock’n’roll delivered with passion and style. There’s no doubt that Steak come closer than anyone from our little island to replicating the vibe and groove of that classic desert scene. And hats of to them for cracking that sandy canyon groove.
We would love to see these guys let loose on the big stage where you’d imagine they could really let rip. In fact we were moaning that Steak weren’t in the main arena at Bloodstock, now we’re moaning that they aren’t on the big stage at this festival. We’ll never be happy until Steak are top of the bill, basically.
The day still hadn’t totally hit it’s heights, but Steak give it a much needed kick up the arse in preparation for what is in the pipeline.
Legend time next over on the man stage. The place looked a little empty 5 minutes before Saint Vitus hit the stage, but that was probably just down to people grabbing a quick beer before the main events.
Fans flocked in as the veterans arrived, “this is Doom Vs Stoner, well we should be in a wire cage, this is fucking St Vitus” as they get the big room bouncing for pretty much the first time today. Guitarist Dave pulls all the rock god poses, and faces while Frontman Scott beams from ear to ear through the whole set, looking like some kindly old uncle. Who said they look like Beavis and Butthead, the later years?? . Considering that all the bands on today fit loosely into the “Doom Vs Stoner” church, it is Saint Vitus who fit that label perfectly. With Orange Goblin watching from the wings, the band deal a classic doom masterclass.
These old timers have been the most energetic. Just goes to show, some things improve with age. Chants of “doom doom doom” from the crowd greet a very well polished set. As good as I remember way back in 2014 at Damnation. The setlist is a mixture of (very) old and “been a long time since we tried this motherfucker, let’s as what happens”.
We’re told the band are thinking about doing a new album. “Wanna hear a new one? This is called ‘Bloodshed’ “. A song so new Scott has the lyrics written on sheets of paper, a great souvenir for whoever caught it at the end of the gig.
Really liked the improvised percussion too, who would have thought chinking two beer bottles together would count as doom percussion.
Who knows. “99 bottles of beer on the wall” had to be the highlight of their set, all 20 seconds of it…
As the stoner legends left the stage the place was suitably hyped up for the main event. Orange Goblin may be a predictable choice for a doom/stoner festival headline slot, but as far as we’re concerned they can come back every year. If we’re honest the day had been a bit on the slow side thus far, but you can always rely on Big Ben & co. to wake a place up
Boom. That’s how you put on a show. Play like your life depends on it. There is so much love I’m the room for Orange Goblin. Two years in a row they have headlined the first day at stoner vs doom, I sense a pattern emerging. As always, they deliver the goods. Can’t say much more than WOW!! Just wow! Ben rubs his hands together mischievously. He’s always a happy chap but here clearly having a blast. “Lets go fucking crazy”.
Oh, OK. If you insist…
Standing near the bar (hic hic) we found ourselves rubbing shoulders with Saint Vitas who were happily getting pics taking with fans as they watched Orange Goblin. And with that, Team CB made way to find our wheels. We are here to review bands. We draw a line at discos and djs. What a day its been.
Lets do it again sometime soon….hows about tomorrow??