Doom, no gloom

Doom merchants: If you ask any local talent buyer what days are hardest to draw crowds, chances are nine out of 10 of them will say it’s Sunday or Wednesday. Last Wednesday broke tradition.

Local bands Church and Will Haven supported the Eugene, Ore.-based Yob at the Press Club, and the place was at capacity from beginning to end, with nearly 200 in attendance.

Doom metal merchants Church kicked things off at 9 p.m. sharp and opened with “Dawning,” a near 15-minute opus, followed by just one more, equally lengthy song, the brand new “Stargazer.” During the band’s ferocious set, guitarist Chris Somel held court in front of his amp churning out some of the nastiest, down-tuned riffs heard in ages. Singer Eva Holland stood center stage and moved from haunting, tragic melodies to hate-filled, vitriolic screams as Church trudged along at a snail’s pace.

And while the band only formed during the cold winter of 2013, it has already landed many coveted slots opening for bands such as Dispirit, Jucifer, Eyehategod, the Atlas Moth, Black Cobra and more. Check out for more shows.

Meanwhile, longtime locals Will Haven were handpicked by Yob’s singer and guitarist Mike Scheidt to play the night’s show; the band performed a spirited set of older and newer tunes. Even original drummer Wayne Morse and the band’s second singer, Jeff Jaworski, made it out for the band’s all-too-rare appearance.

The band—which has been on the scene since the mid-’90s—sounded better than ever. Guitarist and bandleader Jeff Irwin still delivered up some of the most heady, nauseating riffs, and guitarist Anthony Paganelli perfectly complemented and juxtaposed his oft-repeating lines. Once more, the rhythm section of drummer Mitch Wheeler and bassist Chris Fehn was locked and loaded from start to finish. Singer Grady Avenell, who returned to the band years ago after a lengthy absence, still sounded as good if not better than he did on Will Haven’s self-titled debut 1996 EP.

The band recently signed to Artery Recordings and will release a new EP, Open The Mind To Discomfort, on May 19 before embarking on yet another headlining tour. Stay tuned at

—Eddie Jorgensen

Sol Life: The music portion of Austin’s South by Southwest festival starts next week, and the city is getting two healthy doses of Sacramento.

Yes, the organizers behind TBD Fest are curating the largest unofficial showcase coinciding with SXSW, TBD Austin. But it’s Sol Collective that’s getting the royal treatment: after three years attending SXSW, the people behind Sol Collective earned an official showcase with two stages in a 500-person capacity venue on Saturday, March 21.

Hip-hop and global music styles will dominate, with three local artists—Native Children, Dre-T and World Hood—as well as a mix of national and international musicians. The Sol stage will offer tropical, Afro-Latin and other experimental, cross-cultural rhythms, while the Life stage will primarily showcase honest hip-hop. But most excitingly, it’ll launch Sol Collective’s record label Sol Life.

You might be thinking, “But hasn’t Sol Life been around a while?” Yes, it has. Local rappers Dre-T and Luke Tailor dropped their albums last year via Sol Life, but with this launch, the label will be an official thing on an international level.

Dre-T, Luke Tailor, World Hood and Seti X, a Los Angeles-based hip-hop artist, comprise Sol Life’s current roster. The next wave will be announced this summer. Sol Collective director Estella Sanchez says she expects to sign four or five artists—some local, some not—every few months or so. Already, Sol Life has piqued the interest of musicians as far as New York and Toronto.

Why is Sol Life so exciting? In Sanchez’s words, it’s “reimagining the record label through the eyes of the artist.” That means the artist’s needs come first—like, actually come first. It’s a co-op style of business, with the artists having real input and decision-making powers. Traditional roles are gone, and instead, it’s all hands on deck for booking, managing and developing artists.

“Everybody is working on everybody’s projects—shared resources, shared contacts, shared networks,” Sanchez said.

In terms of sound, Sanchez said Sol Life is drawn to music that shares the artist’s cultural heritage and spreads empowering social and political messages.

“We really want to promote voices we feel are important to our communities, and amplify them,” she said.

—Janelle Bitker