AMATEUR CONCERT PHOTOGRAPHY HOUR: UNCLE ACID & the Deadbeats/Danava @ Lee’s Palace, Toronto, September 28, 2014

While I wouldn’t call Uncle Acid sellouts–their brand of chunky, melodic, occult rock just so happens to be in right now–they certainly did sell out Lee’s Palace last weekend…and on a Sunday night, to boot!  Their past was once shrouded in mystery, but it turns out they’re just regular blokes, although one of them does wear a white suit on stage.  As a matter of fact, there is no Uncle Acid per se–the band has a dual-guitar, dual-vocal attack (and sometimes tri-), without a frontman in the traditional sense.  I might hafta go back and listen to their records more closely, cuz I swear I’d never heard more than one voice before.

When opening act Danava was on stage, I had a hard time hearing any vocals at all, as their frontman stood on the other side of the side and struggled to be heard over the din.  I’d seen these guys once before, touring with Joe Preston (aka Thrones) back in 2010 or 2011.  But I hadn’t listened to ‘em much since, so I suppose their set was a pleasant rediscovery for me.

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GUITAR SOLO!!!!!

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I will say this about Uncle Acid: you really can’t kill these guys, cuz they’re such a hard band to shoot!  There was no overhead lighting on stage, with an eerie backdrop provided by some evil-eye lights on the drumkit and old TVs set to static.  Only problem was that all but two of said TVs didn’t even work, leaving them with even less light than anticipated.  Not that they aren’t a buncha shadowy characters already, but let’s just say that in the absence of illumination, there were a couple moments where I struggled to keep my eyes open–to say nothing of my camera’s eye!

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Oh, and their drummer also had a severe case of cymbal-face…

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HAND OF DOOM!!!!!

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Aaaaaand here’s what they looked like with the flash off:

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2014 CFL POWER RANKINGS: Week 14

Defence reigned supreme in Week 14, but if you’ve been watching the CFL all season, that probably wasn’t much of a surprise.  In fact, the highest combined point total of the week was very nearly the Eskimos’ 24-0 shutout of Saskatchewan.  In the end, Hamilton’s 16-11 win over Winnipeg edged ‘em out by a field goal.  But man, when you get a full slate of games where there were as many teams putting up 20+ points as there were franchises that laid a goose-egg, well, I don’t think it’s just the weather that’s been unseasonably cold across Canada this summer.  FWIW, it was a sunny 25 degrees in Toronto last weekend.  Oh, and the Argos had a bye. ;)

Preseason Predictions

Last Week’s Rankings

Rankings Archive

1. Calgary Stampeders (11-2) Last Week: 1.  I hafta admit, even as a Stamps fan–albeit one living in the Eastern Timezone–I dozed off just before halftime of their 14-7 win over B.C.  Hell, that game was so boring that I actually switched to the season premiere of SNL midway through the third quarter…and I don’t even like Ariana Grande!  That being said, after giving up an opening-drive touchdown, the Stamps defence held its opponent scoreless for the remaining 55 minutes.  Aaaaaand that’s why they’re the soon-to-be 2014 Grey Cup champs! ;)

2. Edmonton Eskimos (9-4) Last Week: 3.  Speaking of shutouts, the Eskies held Saskadelphia scoreless for a full 60 minutes last week.  Granted, Riders backup QB Tino Sunseri couldn’t hit the broad side of a grain silo, but keeping an opponent that was previously 9-3 without even a suçon of offence is a pretty big freakin’ deal!

3. Hamilton Tiger-Cats (5-7) Last Week: 5.  I know what you’re thinking: 5-7 Hamilton in third place!?  What, has he been hanging out with Rob Ford?  (OK, so the man has cancer.  I should probably stop that…)  In any case, the Cats have built up a three-game winning streak the hard way, with back-to-back-to-back wins over Western opponents, even knocking off Edmonton in Week 13.  They might just be the East’s only hope come Grey Cup 102…  The Stamps’ll still stomp ‘em, though! :P

4. B.C. Lions (7-6) Last Week: 4.  At least the B.C. D showed up to play last week, holding Calgary to four field goals and a safety–the latter of which their punter conceded.  But things looked bleak on offence even before Kevin Glenn went down, and if he’s not good to go, going forward, this team could be down to QB#3…which means they’re even more screwed than Saskatchewan!

5. Saskatchewan Roughriders (9-4) Last Week: 2.  Like I said after Week 13, the Riders did not deserve to be number one because their magical, mystical OT win that week came over the lowly REDBLACKS!!!!–and at Mosaic Stadium, no less!!!!  Last weekend, Tino Sunseri and company showed what happens when they play against a real team.  Even the 13th man wouldn’t have changed that game–but who knows, he mighta blocked a field goal or something.

6. Montreal Alouettes (5-8) Last Week: 8.  Montreal’s recent run (hey, a two-game win streak counts as a run when we’re talking ’bout the CFL Least) has not been as impressive as Hamilton’s; I mean, they just barely beat the REDBLACKS!!!! last week.  But the Als can boast of something that only one other CFL franchise can lay claim to this season: they actually knocked off the Calgary Stampeders.  With Drew Tate starting at quarterback, but still.  That makes ‘em better than next-to next-to-worst in my books!

7. Toronto Argonauts (4-8) Last Week: 7.  Y’know, I typically try not to move a team up or down in the rankings after their bye week, but in this case, by virtue of not playing, the Argos actually moved ahead of one team, whose fans might wanna start bustin’ out the paper bags any day now…

8. Winnipeg Blue Bombers (6-7) Last Week: 6.  Although their almost-winning record is still somewhat respectable–hey, they’d have a half-game lead in the Least if they still played there–the way the Bombers have landed at 6-7 has sent them spiraling down these rankings.  Lose-A-Peg (and yes, I’m bringing that back) has dropped four straight games, and six of its last seven.  Hell, if they fail to defeat Ottawa next week, I might hafta do the unthinkable and move the REDBLACKS!!!!! up from last place!!!!!

9. Ottawa REDBLACKS!!!!! (1-11) Last Week: 9.  Let’s face it, Henry Burris and the boys have been on the bottom more often than (insert gay porn icon here).  At this point, I’m really running out of silly football-related pictures to post from this expansion franchise, so I’ll hafta start ending these rankings with photos of some of Ottawa’s storied landmarks, beginning with the BareFax Gentlemen’s Club on York Street:

Hey, I hear that if you get lucky here, you might even get ex-Senator Patrick Brazeau to frisk ya!

TOP FIVE BRITISH STONER/PSYCH BANDS: 1. Hawkwind

After famously opening for Sabbath on the latter’s Euro tour, Uncle Acid and company are bringing their act overseas, for the first time ever.  And hey, while the U.K. did give us the Sab Four, there hasn’t been a whole ton of desert rock pouring out of a country that’s always raining.  In any case, here’s a decent handful of bands that go quite well with fish ‘n chips, thank you.

5. Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats

4. Cathedral

3. Electric Wizard

2. Orange Goblin

1. Hawkwind

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OK, so I’m slightly saddened by what the band’s become in recent years: two warring factions I refer to as Nikwind and Brockwind, with their respective founding figures locked in a bitter feud that puts Nigel Tufnel vs. David St. Hubbins to shame.  But I think it’s safe to say there’d be no British stoner/psych scene if it wasn’t for Hawkwind…well OK, and maybe Pink Floyd.  But the fact that the former is still cranking out new music some 45 years onward is certainly impressive–even if there are two of them now.  Why can’t we just go back to the way things were?

(Hey, it’s not like Lemmy isn’t still making music, either!)

TOP FIVE BRITISH STONER/PSYCH BANDS: 2. Orange Goblin

After famously opening for Sabbath on the latter’s Euro tour, Uncle Acid and company are bringing their act overseas, for the first time ever.  And hey, while the U.K. did give us the Sab Four, there hasn’t been a whole ton of desert rock pouring out of a country that’s always raining.  In any case, here’s a decent handful of bands that go quite well with fish ‘n chips, thank you.

5. Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats

4. Cathedral

3. Electric Wizard

2. Orange Goblin

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As opposed to a couple bands that preceded them on this list, Orange Goblin has pretty consistently kept the same sound for the past 20 years, though they’ve moved from a more straight-up stoner-rock style to something more akin to southern doom.  That said, their new record, Back from the Abyss, is a real return to form, displaying elements of all their previous albums to date.  And yes, I have heard it already–it’s not out until October, but in the meantime, you can check out lead-off single “Sabbath Hex” below:

AMATEUR CONCERT PHOTOGRAPHY HOUR: CROWBAR/Revocation/Havok/Armed for Apocalypse @ The Phoenix, Toronto, September 19, 2014

This would’ve been a few years ago (2010, I think), but I remember seeing one date in December where Crowbar and Eyehategod’s respective tours intersected, with them sharing a bill somewhere down south–I think it was in Raleigh, NC.  Suffice to say, that wasn’t the case for the former’s first Canadian appearance in Satan-knows-how-long.  This bill was a real mixed bag, with the supporting bands seemingly the same names that you see at or near the bottom of most major metal tours.  I even heard some goofball who, upon spotting my Sever the Wicked Hand hoodie, remarked “This guy’s here to see Crowbar, and I don’t even know who they are!”  Welp, I guess that’s your loss, then…

Anyways, the reason I got there early at all was because I wanted to check out Armed for Apocalypse, a sludge/thrash outfit from California who dropped a pretty solid sophomore effort last year.  Didn’t quite catch all of their set, but what I witnessed was pretty punishing.

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I’d heard a lot about Havok, one of those new wave of thrash bands that’s looking to bring the 80’s back–but they had never opened for anyone I was interested in seeing before.  They did seem to have a pretty decent-sized following, though, and their singer does a damn-good Dave Mustaine/Tom Angelripper impression, even though you’d never confuse him for either in a police lineup.

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I’m not even sure what’s going on in this picture…

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I guess I’d file Revocation under thrash, too, although they’ve definitely got more of a death-metal thing going on.  That being said, I don’t listen to a lotta death metal nowadays.  I read somewhere they’re a “technical death metal” band, so let’s just go with that.

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As someone else at the show said, Crowbar’s not the band to see when you’re really tired.  And while I was a little spent myself, I still hafta say, I find their music cleansing in a way.  It had been a weird week for me leading up to this gig, but getting my daily dose of Kirk and co helped keep me from going crazy.  Speaking of which, some bozo actually managed to stagedive at this show.  We kept trying to push him away, but he eventually made it up there–away from the frontman, fortunately.  The kid was wearing a Crowbar shirt, too, so you’d think he’d know what’s up.  You’ve got more balls than brains, kid!

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TOP FIVE BRITISH STONER/PSYCH BANDS: 3. Electric Wizard

After famously opening for Sabbath on the latter’s Euro tour, Uncle Acid and company are bringing their act overseas, for the first time ever.  And hey, while the U.K. did give us the Sab Four, there hasn’t been a whole ton of desert rock pouring out of a country that’s always raining.  In any case, here’s a decent handful of bands that go quite well with fish ‘n chips, thank you.

5. Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats

4. Cathedral

3. Electric Wizard

OK, so they’re more into the hippy-dippy, occult horror rock now (full disclosure: I’ve yet to hear the new album), but if you don’t believe the Wizard is one of the top five British stoner bands of all time, then I got two words for ya:

Dopethrone, muthafucka!

TOP FIVE BRITISH STONER/PSYCH BANDS: 4. Cathedral

After famously opening for Sabbath on the latter’s Euro tour, Uncle Acid and company are bringing their act overseas, for the first time ever.  And hey, while the U.K. did give us the Sab Four, there hasn’t been a whole ton of desert rock pouring out of a country that’s always raining.  In any case, here’s a decent handful of bands that go quite well with fish ‘n chips, thank you.

5. Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats

4. Cathedral

Throughout its voyage, the good ship Cathedral has traversed several sub-genres, from death-doom to trad doom to…whatever you’d call that shit they play now.  But for a brief spell in the late 90’s, they rode the stoner/doom wave on 1996’s Supernatural Birth Machine and 1998’s Caravan Beyond Redemption.  Though neither is my favourite album (I prefer The Carnival Bizarre), each does have its moments–most notably the desert-rock-to-the-core music video they shot for the latter’s “Heavy Load”…which I can’t seem to find on YouTube anymore.  I guess you only get the audio, then: