A three-course meal of distinct musical trios, Earthless, We Hunt Buffalo and the Highway Kind took Vancouver’s sonic sensors on an interstellar trip.
Begining the evening were the Highway Kind, the current project of Matthew Camirand, formerly bass player of Vancouver psychedelic legends Black Mountain as well as the frontman of the under appreciated psych-folk group Blood Meridian. The Highway Kind play a gritty sort of bluesy stoner rock buoyed by a strong, boogie-styled bass line; the band also succeeds in bringing some songwriting and the tasteful female vocals of Cristin Heck to the table. With a self-produced self-titled album under their belts, the Highway Kind are a favourite local delicacy.
We Hunt Buffalo, a crushingly heavy stoner outfit, are a prime specimen of Vancouver’s gritty, stoner metal sound. With an emphasis on power, tone and volume, We Hunt Buffalo rattled the audience’s ears, priming them for the extreme energy of Earthless. Cranking out a cymbal-heavy sprawl and fortified guitar riffs, they are a band with a muscular sound.
San Diego space-rock outfit Earthless, as their name suggests, churn out sonic jams that are very much out of this world. A hardworking three-piece with clean yet mammoth-sized tones, Earthless play spaced out stoner-blues in the form of extended instrumental jams. Guitarist Isaiah Mitchell led the trio through long burning journeys that while universally wild, also featured flaring peaks of intensity. Occasionally there would be a quieter spacey interlude that would serve as a brief breath of air before the jam launched into overdrive.
When Earthless take off, they really mean it, with wild guitar solos, concrete yet flourished riffs, meticulous percussions and a buoyant bass undertone. Whatever distance the guitar tone, bass player Mike Eginton and drummer Mario Rubalcaba held down a more than reputable rhythm section. “Sonic Prayer” exemplified the groups’ dedication to spaced, psychedelic blues.
Observing such meditative intensity is a liberating experience; Earthless defy the regular standards of rock and roll. Maybe that’s why it took the band almost 10 years before they actually visited Vancouver, despite hailing from the West Coast. For many volume worshiping guitar heads, it was well worth the wait.
Though the music of Earthless drips with power and energy, Mitchell operated his instrument with monastic stoicism. The band took over an hour to power through a handful of pieces. Who needs songs anyway?