Dead Meadow @ Belgrave Music Hall, 27/09/16

The American fuzzed-out, psychedelic stoner rock outfit played the Belgrave Hall last Tuesday to an audience of grooving bodies and dropped jaws.

Despite relying on a fill-in drummer in place of Juan Londono, who unfortunately could not acquire a visa in time, the band played as an extremely cohesive unit, offering up several reworked and extended versions of their biggest songs. In particular, the closing track, ‘Sleepy Silver Door,’ from their self-titled debut, was totally transformed into a colourful, transcendental wall of heavy fuzz and hard rock repetition – and not the lazy kind, either. The track’s opening modal guitar line was met with thunderous applause from the crowd, and the atmosphere only grew better from there, with the song slowly unravelling into an apocalyptic episode of psychedelic jamming, which culminated in a crashing groove which closed the song.

Another notable highlight was a significantly more spaced-out rendition of ‘Me and the Devil Blues,’ which expertly interwove the song’s signature style with seemingly endless variations on the main riff. The song’s instrumental climax was also given a complete makeover, becoming an exercise in extreme rhythmic heaviness which Dead Meadow have rarely undertaken.

However, any fans scared away by the trio’s new-found love of volume were soon reeled back in, as the rhythm section then walked off stage, leaving vocalist/guitarist Jason Simon to take the spotlight, performing a series of mellow, clean-channelled tracks, which served as a welcome breather between the relentless, distorted jams which dominated the set.

Overall, Dead Meadow were extraordinary, proving themselves to be one of the most unique psychedelic bands at the moment.

As a final note, opening band Cellar Doors show fantastic promise, with a performance which not only rivalled that of Dead Meadow themselves, but at some points, actually outdid them.

Zack Moore

Image: [Zuma]

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