The whiff of 70’s guitar excess hangs heavy in the balmy night air as we descend the stairway to rock bunker Crowbar. It takes one’s ears a few moments to adjust to the deafening decibels emanating from the stage, from there the sounds of Japanese heavy guitar trio Eternal Elysium begin to hazily emerge. From Nagoya in Japan, the band have been active since 1991, masterminded by 70’s rock refugee resembling guitarist and singer Yukito Okazaki, together with powerhouse drummer Antonio Ishikawa and American bassist Tana Haugo who is a commanding presence, pounding her instrument and trading vocals impressively with Okazaki. Over the course of their highly enjoyable set they deliver a memorable blast of 70’s inspired psych-tinged retro-doom.
Next up are brash Venice Beach, California three piece The Shrine, who deliver an in-your-face take on hard rocking 70’s skater punk. Having previously described themselves as “a pool-skating, acid-eating, rip-roaring trio,” the SoCal lads career thrillingly between crunchy, fuzzed out 70’s shout-outs and flat out, Black Flag tinged garage punk. Their amped up approach to sound and performance certainly has it’s moments and has me marking them down as a band to investigate further.
In the spirit of the 70s rock inspired excess (there’s that decade again!), an inebriated blag with the guys and gal from Eternal Elysium sees us all adjourn to a side street for some alleyway imbibing, prior to lifting off with tonight’s headliners, San Diego’s Earthless.
The band have developed quite a penchant for this country recently (this is their third tour here in the past few years) and the feeling from captivated local fans is mutual, as evidenced by the swelling fan base in attendance for the first night of a two night residency at Crowbar.
An instrumental power trio of monumental and telepathic force, Earthless are in effect one endless (summer) jam, plugging in tonight on the back of their third album From The Ages and riding an epic wave of guitar worship.
Bassist Mike Eginton and multi-band wonder-drummer Mario Rubalcaba lay down a churning, organic bedrock for the guitar shredding antics of slashing (and freshly shorn) guitarist Isaiah Mitchell to display his prodigious six string skills. Newer jams such as Violence Of The Red Sea and Uluru Rock (yep it’s a dedication to that sacred big red rock in the centre of Australia) are fleshed out above and beyond their already weighty track lengths, the transfixed crowd blissfully immersed in the maelstromic alchemy being channeled before them. The band jam on, and on… eventually burning up and returning to Earth, leaving a throng of sweaty and satiated bodies in their wake.
My ears are ringing and the bright blue lights of the Crowbar stairs are hurting my eyes as I ascend back up to bitumen and reality, witness to an exalted evening of guitar overload from three top notch guitar overlords delivering us all on an amped up joyride to rock and roll nirvana.