Last weekend, I made my third annual summertime trip down to Rochester Rock City. I had previously attended the Born Too Late II doomfest in ’09, and caught Eyehategod at the Bug Jar last June. This time around, twas Pentagram who came to town, and a venue I’d never been to before: the Montage Music Hall. (Sadly, there were no clips from Rocky playing in the background. Tis a bit of a misnomer, I suppose.)
The bill was jam-packed with no less than four opening bands; two touring, two locals, with the doors opening at 8. And I had good reason not to be late, since Rochesterian true doom titans Orodruin opened things up, going on at a quarter past the hour. These guys can’t come up here anymore due to a legal matter involving one of their members, so I was pretty stoked to see ‘em again. While I do dig me some Blizaro, I gotta say that I missed the passionate intensity with which they delivered their crushing doom metal. Professor John Gallo, enjoying his last day of non-married life, was in especially fine form!
The next two bands were previously unknown to me, and both delivered something a little different. Velvet Elvis was up next, and while I didn’t catch their name at first, they caught my ear right away with their brand of female-fronted, stoner-fuzz sludge. I actually bought their CD afterwards, opting for the digital format over a similarly priced cassette tape. There are five songs in total; two that I really like, two not so much, and a weird acoustic country thing at the end. For five bucks, I can’t complain.
Jeff the Brotherhood, meanwhile, was not your typical band of brothers; a two-piece band featuring drums and a three-string bass run through enough distortion and effects to make it sound like a guitar. A little weird, not too bad, but not really my thing.
Valiant Thorr was a bit of a strange choice as the main touring support. Not the most talented band–nor the most original, by any means–but definitely one of the hairiest buncha rednecks this side of ZZ Top. They might not have a lot in common with Pentagram, but they’re quite good at getting the crowd going with their on-stage energy.
And finally, Pentagram. I saw these guys in Cleveland last January, but since then, the lineup surrounding Bobby Liebling has completely evolved, bringing three new musicians into the fold. Well, some of them aren’t so new. Bassist Greg Turley played with the band in the mid 90′s, and of course, Victor Griffin is the seminal Pentagram guitarist, whose face appears along with Bobby’s–and no one else’s–on one of their new t-shirts. (Drummer Tim Tomaselli also plays with Griffin in Place of Skulls.)
From where I stood, Turley’s double Laney attack made my knees shake, whereas Griffin, on the other stage of the stage, was a little low in the mix. I also got up close and personal with Bobby Liebling, whose wild-man antics are the stuff of legend. The man is truly a unique talent!
After the gig, I went straight to the bus station, where I caught a red-eye coach to Cooperstown, home of the Baseball Hall of Fame. I’ll post those pics tomorrow.