Having already established contact with the Lo Pan camp, Jibbies & Loond decided it was time to find some prime Headhunters acreage and post up for the 7 hours of choice stoner rock n’ roll that is Small Stone Recordings’ annual SXSW showcase. New additions this year included Dwellers, Backwoods Payback, Gozu, and Wo Fat.
Dwellers started the show off, and any undertones of grunge on ‘Good Morning Harakiri’ are erased in the live setting and replaced by additional layers of atmosphere. There is weight to be sure, but Dwellers make sure to open your headspace and prime it for contemplation between bouts of riffing, making the power soar all the higher when it arrives.
Backwoods Payback hail from West Chester, Pa., and seeing them onstage leaves little doubt what they’re doing here: busting out! No slight to West Chester, it’s just hard to imagine a band like Backwoods playing the local more than a few times without blowing it apart. The band deals in straight up rock n’ roll, but played with enough force to make sure it sticks.
Next up is Boston’s Gozu, and it is clear from note one that very little will be left intact. The band comes out of the gates riffing like demons and it becomes clear that though the tempo might occasionally change, the power will never be diminished. Gozu is playing with a purpose, and turns in what might well have been the set of the night.
Anyone who’s listened to the Jibbies & Loond Show for more than an episode or two knows the love our boys have for Columbus, Ohio’s, Lo Pan. J&L’s excitement was only heightened by word from the band that they would be presenting three brand new songs as part of the set. Sure enough, the band is cruising along, taking the crowd on an interstellar carpet ride, when the first of the three new numbers comes along. The room begins to shimmer with a new energy, which builds through the next two (also new) songs until a ball of light emerges, enveloping band, crowd, structure, the motorcycles outside, and some curious passersby and transforming them into a single cloud of space dust.
Dallas’ Wo Fat are one of the newest Small Stone signings and you can see why the label scooped them up. That being said, it would be interesting to have seen any of the other Small Stone stalwarts this early into their tenure, there being times when Wo Fat seemed overpowered by both their surroundings and the company they were suddenly keeping. They’re going to be fine, just need a little more seasoning.
Dixie Witch come out swinging like the local champions they are, drummer/vocalist Trinidad Leal running the room like a boss from behind the kit. Guitarist JT’s combination of shred and stagecraft make him the perfect visual and musical foil for Leal’s own gymnastics, with bassist CC expertly keeping the whole show moving forward.
By the time Tia Carrera come out to close the night, a little bit of festival fatigue has set in. Even so, the band’s set seems both more exploratory and slower than their 2011 day-party appearance, during which they came across as jam band psychedelia on speed. Whether Tia C. intentionally chose the vibe to match the hour and mood, had their own moods altered by the hour and mood, if the crowd was simply too zonked anymore to move, or (most likely) some combination of all three, the set delivered was great for explorations of inner space and brought the 2012 journey in for a satisfying landing.