September 24, 2015 Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats Return To NYC 9-12-15 w/ Ecstatic Vision & Ruby The Hatchet
The UK’s Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats have been casting a spell on the Rock world over the past couple of years that is beginning to spread faster than one could have ever imagined. On the scene since 2009, the band’s throwback Doom style derives heavy influence from the traditional Metal of the late ’60s. Their third studio album, Mind Control, was perhaps a turning point in their career thus far. Following the record’s success, the band made their first trip across the ocean to North America in the Fall of 2014 to sell out venue after venue.
Less than a year later, they return with fourth album, The Night Creeper, which is their first to ever reach US charts. With that said, it seemed only fitting the band return to The States sooner than later, and that plan was put into action with the announcement of 2015’s Fall run scheduled between September 9th and October 2nd. Stopping in New York City on Saturday, September 12th, Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats invaded Webster Hall, an upgrade from their previous visit September 26, 2014 when they played Bowery Ballroom. Setting to host the show many had been talking about for weeks, support came from Philadelphia, PA area band Ecstatic Vision and Ruby The Hatchet.
A member of the Relapse Records family, Ecstatic Vision brought psychedelic Heavy Metal to the stage with intelligent touches of classic Prog-Rock with classic Rock leanings. The immediate comparison would be to Hawkwind and their brain-bending mish mash of heavy Rock, but their chops, and use of flute, sax, keys, chimes, and a melodica brought the sound of Traffic and The Moody Blues to mind as well. The band’s debut, Sonic Praise, was released in June of this year to rave reviews. Despite containing only five tracks, it clocks in at just under thirty-eight minutes as the band likes to jam. Ecstatic Vision is comprised of Doug Sabolik (guitar, vocals, chimes, melodica), Michael Field Connor (bass), and Jordan Crouse (drums). Multi-instrumentalist Kevin Nickles (keys, flute, sax) joined the band as a special guest.
An effects-laden intro opened their first song, “Journey.” The spaced-out sounds soon gave way to pounding toms and a steady, heavy riff. The band’s take on Doom Metal carried the rest of the tune. “Astral Plane” began with a steady building guitar lead over an Afro-Cuban rhythm. It then spun into classic Space Rock territory with a pounding bass line and swirling guitars. Clocking in at just under fifteen minutes, the song took numerous turns into varying styles, covering Heavy Metal, Doom, Psychedelic, and straight Rock-n-Roll. “Sonic Praise” opened with an intro on flute. This was quite the departure from the powerful, raw sound of “Astral Plane.” “Sonic Praise” was a trippy romp with fuzzed-out bass and dynamic saxophone solos. Here the band showed that they could play the heavy with top notch melodies, and chops. Set closer “Don’t Kill the Vibe” began with manic drumming and a riff that would not be out of place on Black Sabbath Vol. 4. The riff was dense, drenched in feedback, and propulsive. On this track, Ecstatic Vision showed that, at the end of the day, they are at heart, a Rock -n- Roll band. Their penchant for incorporating a myriad of styles makes them a band that you should not miss live.
Next up was the enticing Ruby The Hatchet following with a set of doomy Heavy Metal. Fronted by Vocalist Jillian Taylor, the band brought the sounds of early ’70s underground Hard Rock and Heavy Metal to the stage with their set. Fresh off the Winter 2015 release of their debut full-length album, Valley Of The Snake, Ruby The Hatchet are ready to make a big splash in the growing Doom Rock scene.
Immediately creating an atmosphere, Owen Stewart (drums), Sean Hur (keys), Johnny Scarps (guitar), and Mike Parise (bass) laid down the massive groove over which Taylor, through her powerful voice and winsome presence, combined to generate a sound that was both ear-shattering and enchanting. “Heavy Blanket” opened their set with a classic Heavy Metal sound. Elongated notes on guitar over the rhythm filled the spaces between the verses. The organ darted in and out throughout the song providing the perfect counter to the utter density of the bass and guitar. “Demons” found Ruby The Hatchet picking up the pace quite a bit at the onset with a frenetic opening. The song quickly settled in to a still up-tempo groove emanating the sound of an underground Slasher film. The track eventually went in an entirely different direction as it slowed the pace considerably in the middle section before taking off again for a brisk outro; a great display of the band’s versatility. “Vast Acid” brought the Stoner Rock vibe to the fore with a masterful, droning guitar lead, tons of ride cymbal abuse, and a thick bass line. A Psych Rock intro opened set closer “Tomorrow Never Comes.” Plodding bass and drums set the tone for a plodding dirge. The song would careen between fast and slow with several well-placed solos on guitar throughout. If you are looking for a night of hard and heavy Rock -n- Roll with a Doom/Stoner/Proto Metal sound, seek out Ruby The Hatchet.
The time had finally come for the nights headliners, Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats, with a propensity for crafting timeless, classic melodies, deft harmonies, and coupling them with brash soundscapes. With a lineup that consists of Kevin Ryan “K.R.” Starrs (guitar/vocals), Yotam Rubinger (guitar, vocals), Itamar Rubinger (drums), and Vaughn Stokes (bass), the band certainly create a sound that not only needs to be heard, but seen live to truly grasp. Clearly subscribing to that opinion, Webster Hall was packed with fans of all ages ready to bare witness to Uncle Acid.
Bringing together various sounds and styles of Rock, the band crafts melodies reminiscent of The Beatles with the thunder of bands like Iron Butterfly and Blue Cheer. Getting right into the heavy, “Waiting for Blood” kicked off the band’s set. A chunky riff and harmonic vocals set the pace before a solo, that could have walked out of England in late 1978, delighted the crowd. “Mind Crawler” was laid down in the same vein, but with more speed. The repetition of the chorus to close out the song gave off the feeling of deep psychosis, blanketed in head-banging-worthy music. “Murder Nights” was pure Heavy Metal. The song was dark, dense, and dreadful. It never ventured out of that space, as it was a bleak elegy.
“Poison Apple” was, comparatively speaking, light compared to the previous three tracks, but still a weighty, lumbering tune. It frequently threatened to spin into the dark side, but always came right back to its punchy melody. “Death’s Door” erased all doubt that Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats can rock as hard as anyone. A brooding lead on guitar, steady drumming, and steady bass moved the song along in a display of Sludge Rock expertise. “13 Candles” found the band back to a faster pace. The song never broke stride and rocked at full-tilt for nearly eight minutes as Starrs and Rubinger traded licks.
“Pusher Man” was easily the heaviest song of the night. Here, the band evoked the sound of contemporaries like Electric Wizard and Sleep with a song steeped in distortion. The molten fuzz was sprinkled over with well-crafted solos on guitar to keep the song from falling entirely into the expanses of hell, although it was seemingly trying to get there. “I’ll Cut You Down” found the band diving into yet another territory as the intro screamed Southern Rock. That bright sound was quickly replaced by a driving Hard Rock sound that they never veered from. “Inside” brought the feedback to eleven as Rubinger kept the beat brisk on the drums. Over the beefy rhythm, chanting vocals and atmospheric solos made for an interesting stew.
Reaching back to their 2010 debut, Vol. 1, “Crystal Spiders” was a Garage Rock meets Proto Metal romp. The guitars were loose, jangly, and the feedback was at a minimum. The vocals found the band incorporating yet another style as the cadence sounded like classic-era Blondie. Set closer “Vampire Circus,” also from the band’s debut, had a Surf Rock sound on guitar, shuffling drums, before breaking off into a Blues Rock send off.
After a brief exit, the band returned for a three song encore. “Melody Lane” found the band venturing into the sounds of early ’90s underground, heavy Rock. The guitars sounded like a mix of The Melvins and Fudge Tunnel. The vocals sounded like a lost track from The Beatles 1968 The White Album. All the while, the feeling of pending disaster was palpable, and it was relentless. The song never veered off its nightmarish path. “Ritual Knife” was a lighter tune, but still provided an ominous soundscape. The intensity continually escalated with a classic Doom Metal riff and increasingly spooky vocals. The song eventually collapsed into an all-out Psychedelic jam rife with distortion and feedback. Show closer “Withered Hand of Evil” encompassed all of the many styles Uncle Acid incorporates. It had heavy guitars, pounding rhythms, an eerie vocal, and mixed the pace up throughout.
Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats are certainly an enigmatic band. They dress like mods, are as heavy as any of their contemporaries, craft fine-tuned, Pop-worthy melodies that at the same time elicit a feeling of dread, are clearly influenced by many bands from the past, but manage to sound completely original and unique. Those who like Rock, Hard Rock, Stoner/Doom/Sludge delivered with clever, dexterous musicianship, dig into their catalog. The Night Creeper tour continues with stops in Canada and the Western United States, wrapping up soon, so do not miss out.