The Great Sadness , Intrcptr, Big Pig, Sumo Princess, All Souls At Cafe Nela, Sunday February 18th 2018
Café Nela had another punk lineup all day long on Sunday, and if I missed the first early act (Damon Robinson) as I did on Friday, I got to see The Great Sadness, Intrcptr, Big Pig, Sumo Princess and All souls… not bad for a single day!
The Great Sadness is a very powerful act to see live, and there is a real wilderness unleashed as soon as the duo (Cathy Cooper is on guitar/vocals and Stephen McNeely is on drums) play their furious bluesy stoner rock. I can’t decide if they were more bluesy than doom metal, but they are probably a sort of connection between the two, while Cooper’s vocals were piercing and hurling above the music with violence, pain and triumph like a hard rock queen. Whether she played guitar or lap steel, the hot desert wind surely swept away every body’s hair, while McNeely’s crashing or pounding drumming sculpted their sludgy-heavy delta blues.
With Ben Carr on guitar and Larry Herweg on drums, Intrcptr was another guitar-drums duo with a fuzzier sound and without any vocals. They were loud and powerful, and their cinematic soundscapes at times evoked the Scottish band Mogwai to me, while their style was flirting with metal and a stone rock à la Kyuss. Their tracks were moody, often menacing and heavy-riff-loaded, the type of thunderous and dynamic music to keep you company during a long trip in the desert, with absolutely no danger to fall asleep at the wheel.
This afternoon was presenting all kinds of heavy style and Big Pig was another duo featuring Dino Von Lalli on guitar and Benny Macias on drums, while both of them were contributing to the vocals. They had an explosive style and their sound was splashing all over the small venue and seemed to be rebounding against the walls, while their somewhat dissonant music could have been qualified of fast and furious with Benny Macias’ relentless drumming patterns, only cooled down by some stoner moments, which were barely slowing down the head banging.
And since it was an afternoon for duos, Sumo Princess and their much more eccentric style followed, with Gene Trautmann on drums and Abby Travis on bass and some vocals which sounded like a false man’s falsetto. Their heavy (sumo) playful style was a lot of fun and even a bit psychedelic, dominated by Travis’ crazy vocals, Trautmann’s cascading drums, and their danceable riffs — some people inevitably started dancing. It’s hard to believe it but these two have played with an encyclopedic amount of rock bands: Abby Travis has played bass for The Go-Go’s, Cher, Eagles of Death Metal, Masters of Reality, Farflung, The Bangles, Beck, KMFDM, Elastica, while Gene Trautmann has drummed for Queens of the Stone Age, Eagles of Death Metal, The Miracle Workers, The Twilight Singers, Mark Lanegan, Drag News, Mojave Lords… wow! Together they sounded like anything else, a bit Devo, a bit Bauhaus, a bit hardcore, with a large dose of punk surprises, and a badass sound coming from an amazing play of distortion pedals, a sound she has baptized herself ‘artcore’. One thing is sure, they were a wild and super creative ride, and according to the very enthusiastic answer they got from the crowd, they are certainly onto something.
All Souls was the only band featuring more than two people (Erik Trammell, Antonio Aguilar, Tony Tornay, Meg Castellanos), and if they were super melodic with plenty of guitars, they also had a heavy sound, so heavy they have been opening for acts such as Mastodon and Red Fang. They were close to that famous desert rock sound, although a bit less stoner than the average stoner band, with a full layered and super dynamic-melodic sound, they looked like they were in complete command of the stage, but this may have been the case of all the bands that played this afternoon/night