After seeing Mastodon
in Istanbul at the Sonisphere Festival this summer, I was surprised to find out that they were playing at Fitzgerald’s in Houston to kick off the touring cycle for their new record – “The Hunter”. A beloved Houston institution since 1977, Fitz hosted a packed and sold out crowd for this monumental show. However, I was really there to see fellow Georgia brethren – Black Tusk
. Black Tusk
hit the stage after a rather bland set by local Houston newcomers – Venomous Maximus
. Chris and I had interviewed James May (drums) from Black Tusk
just a couple weeks prior and had a really cool phone chat with him. I absolutely loved their Relapse Records debut called “Taste The Sin” and I was jazzed as fuck to witness this monstrous trio in the flesh. It was one of the most exhilarating, energetic, and fun performances I’ve ever seen. The musicianship, chemistry, and physicality was off the richter scale. They really brought their A game and the audience loved every minute of it. The hair flailing, beard waving, and guitars in the air was beyond kick-ass. There is nothing like seeing a super tight power trio that sound like there are twice as many people in the band and Black Tusk
are just that. Each member sang and each had a distinct and incredible vocal style. Andrew (guitar) is raspy, punkish, and screamy. Jonathan’s (bass) booming gruff bellows sound born of the bowels of hell. While James (drums) has an in between, shouted, and more intelligible delivery. It is so incredibly refreshing that there are bands like these guys making music in its most pure and primal form. It’s not doctored up, sterile, perfect, triggered, and devoid of character. These guys make music that sounds human. There’s a hint of imperfection in the cadence, ebb and flow, and gargantuan grooves these guys produce with just drums, guitar, bass, and vocals. No frills…no nonsense…no gimmicks. An astounding mixture of Punk, Hard-core, Sludge, Stoner Rock, Metal, Grind, and good old Rock ‘N Roll. The band has been known to call themselves Swamp Metal and it’s a befitting term for their sound…humid, murky, and dirty with Southern character and charm. You can’t help but shake your money maker to this stuff. It is so bouncy and up-beat. Their new record called “Set The Dial” just came out on Relapse Records and is produced by the legendary Jack Endino. Run, walk, crawl, or slither to wherever you attain music from and get this album now…your ear-holes will thank you.