Shortly after we got back from tour, Sam got in a little scrap. You shoulda seen the other guy though!
He was a concrete highway barrier.
The cast came off a few weeks ago but Sam wasn’t going to be ready to play for a while yet, and although Melissa, Jamie and I went ahead and laid down some basic tracks for A Ruined Oak in July, we haven’t been able to do any work on writing the record.
So to pass the time we’ve been training up local guitar wizard Warren Hatfield (formerly of Coffin Grinder, Torches of Fury, Golden Axe, Valient Thorr and others) as a sub for Sam.
Here he is learning “Blackjaw.”
Warren put in 1. a ton of work and 2. up with our lame asses over the last few weeks and we had a great time with him. The point of all this?
August 7, 2015: Paper Tiger (San Antonio) with DEAD and House of Lightning
Our other-side-of-the-world bros in DEAD contacted us a few months back about doing a Texas show during their tour with House of Lightning, and we jumped at the chance- good thing we did, too, since it basically gave us a reason to continue existing while Sam’s hand has been messed up.
Our regional shows in Texas are always a little complicated because we don’t all live in the same place. Jamie, Melissa, Sam, Warren, and Warren’s better half Katie drove in early from Houston, and when I rolled in from Austin around 9, everyone was over at a local eatery, which shall remain nameless, with the other bands waiting FOREVER for their food. It’s understandable though because Melissa was pretty sure the staff consisted entirely of one young woman who was hostess, bartender, kitchen staff and in charge of turning the lights on and off (?). I didn’t quite understand this last reference but maybe you had to be there.
Anyway the dilatory nature of this establishment did no harm, since it turned out our show was scheduled to start after a larger show outside, featuring none other than MAN OR ASTROMAN! And who was running lights for MOA but Houston native Toto Miranda of the Octopus Project! Random.
Anyhoo DEAD took the opening slot at 11:30, and they gratified us with a good 30 minutes of ‘STRAYAN THUNDAHHHH! Sorry I won’t do that again.
Their faster, gallopy stuff reminded me of Surrounded-By-Thieves era High on Fire in a really good way, but when they slowed it down they had sort of a Harvey Milk thing going on, like they were uttering a sentence with each phrase of the music.
Jem in particular sounded huge. His double tom hits sucked all the air out of the room. As for Jace he did a lot of pretty surprising stuff with his bass. There’s nothing like watching a bass player get to stretch out and fill up a room. I liked it.
House of Lightning were sharing gear with DEAD, so it was a quick rearrangement before they took the stage.
To be honest my usual facility with describing music sort of fails me with this band. Their songs is complex, and they have a lot of stuff in them, but it’s not proggy or spacey. It’s more like a bunch of wicked riffs just backed up against each other.
I dunno, I guess they have the je ne sais quoi that the best sludge bands have. Sludge is a hybrid thing and the fact that it’s hard to pin down is what makes it so versatile and exciting.
Having the boisterous and crucially precise Rick Smith from Torche behind the kit doesn’t hurt. DRUMMERFACE
Guitarist Henry Wilson is also in Floor and he’s been around a while- watching his towering mop, I found myself imagining him as a skinny 20-year-old, and it was both deceptively easy and surprisingly pleasurable. Rock and roll has a way of keeping you young.
Side note- HOL’s bassist, subbing in for their regular guy, picked up the whole set with less than a week to prepare! Unreal.
House of Lightning and DEAD are on tour for five more days, including TONIGHT in Austin at the Mohawk and tomorrow in Dallas at Three Links. You should go see them. These are two interesting and exciting bands that are at the top of their game artistically, and it was a real honor to share the stage with them. DEAD in particular- these guys have been friends with the band ever since Melissa and Sam first crossed paths with them at Total Fest in 2011 (?), and it was really gratifying to finally meet them and get to see them play.
Many thanks to Jem and Jace from DEAD, Rick and House of Lightning, Garrett and JC from Paper Tiger for making this show happen, and San Antonio.
[EDIT (November 1):
I just realized that I completely forgot to say anything about our set! So here goes: nobody was there, it rocked, Warren totally kicked ass, and I don’t remember which songs we played!]
Sam’s just about healed up now, so we’ll be getting back to working on the record. See you soon!