Live Review: church of misery, saviours, wizard rifle

Dec. 5
The Shakedown

This night at the Shakedown was all about upping the ante, being louder than the band that played before. Of course, the bar was set pretty high with an opening set by the skinny, shirtless Portland boys in Wizard Rifle. I first caught wind of the band a couple years ago when they opened for a friend’s band in Seattle and they blew me away. This time was no different and the addition of a bass player since I last saw them has really rounded out their sound. The band’s repertoire of herky-jerky, spastic punk-metal will appeal to prog-heads, pot heads and head bangers equally.
Oakland’s Saviours increased the volume and tore through a set of stoner barnburners. The twin guitar attack and love of runs up and down the neck made me think that they are probably huge fans of Judas Priest (but, then again who isn’t these days?) Their set was heavy on guitar theatrics and left ears ringing, but it was nothing compared to what was coming next.
For some (including a huge amount of Canadians who went to the show, because the Canadian leg of the tour got cancelled) Church of Misery is literally like going to church, as cliche as that sounds. The dude’s from Japan know how wail and they definitely mangled the hearing of anyone not smart enough to either stand very far away or wear ear plugs. The band operates in the High On Fire mode of doom, sludge, stoner, psychedelic rock- whatever you want to call it. The band definitely owes a lot of its influence to Black Sabbath, and is very much more rooted in bluesy jams than the other bands that played that night. While the lyrics are hard to decipher live, they are apparently mostly about serial killers (which, I guess is no surprise with album names like “Master of Brutality,” “Taste The Pain,” “Murder Company,” and “Boston Strangler,”) but I had the chance to chit-chat with them a little bit (the best I could, anyway) out front and they seemed like nice enough dudes. Anyway, I really hope they come to Bellingham again, so more Bellinghamsters can have an opportunity to check them out this time around.
–Rodney Lotter