Nestled alongside the railroad tracks on a side street with no sidewalks in Seattle’s SoDo district, Studio Seven is a brisk 15-minute walk past a whole buncha fast-food places from the SoDo LINK Station. What once was a warehouse has been transformed into a pretty decent all-ages concert venue, where most of the mid-major metal tours stop when they hit town. While its ground floor is roughly the size of The Kathedral, it also has a balcony–which is the only place you’re allowed to drink. Since I knew nothing about the local openers, I headed up for a coupla Rainiers while waiting for the touring bands to take the stage. And I gotta say, it’s a pretty sizeable stage, at that. This picture I took from the balcony (with the opening band on it) should give you some idea.
The last time I saw The Gates of Slumber, they were touring with Weedeater and Black Tusk–way back in April 2010. At that time, they had yet to begin work on The Wretch, their latest (and greatest?) album. They’ve also undergone a lineup change in the interim, “Iron” Bob Fouts leaving the touring lifestyle (and the drumkit) behind to take on bass duties with Apostle of Solitude. So yeah, it had been a while. The good news is that they still bring the doom, their stripped-down style ideally suited to the Vitus-throwback tunes of their new record. As it turns out, they’re finally heading back to Toronto near the end of July, touring in support of Hammers of Misfortune–so I’ll be seeing ‘em twice now in two months.
Hail Hornet was up next, a sludge-metal supergroup/side-project comprised of T-Roy (Sourvein), Erik Larson (Might Could, ex-Alabama Thunderpussy), Vince Burke and the man, the myth, the legend, Dixie Dave Collins. They brought a sludgier, gritter vibe to the table, in stark contrast to the clean tones of TGOS. And I gotta say, Dixie’s even more entertaining when he’s not anchored to a mic stand…
Of course, when it comes to bassists, one would be remiss not to mention Tatsu Mikami, the founding father of Church of Misery. He’s not an imposing figure by any stretch, but with his flowing hair, bell-bottom jeans and sunburst Rickenbacker hanging down around his ankles, you can’t help but notice him on stage. His distinctive style of playing (I’ve never seen anyone else with their right hand so far up the neck) really adds the low-end groove to the band’s sound. In fact, I haven’t seen a band that grooved like these guys since the last time I saw Sleep live. Just a truly great, awesome, fantastic performance. I can hardly put it into words–so here’s a few pictures.
This being the last date of the tour, Church of Misery brought Karl Simon and T-Roy up on stage for a rousing rendition of “War is Our Destiny” with the other members of TGOS and Hail Hornet lurking in the background. This is the great thing about seeing the last date of a tour–the headliner not having any merch left, well, that’s the not-so-great thing.