Stoners who rock
Ruby the Hatchet, American Killers and others play tokeable show
Put the joint down: The best 4/20 weekend show in Sacramento is actually on Saturday night (4/21), if you’re into vintage rock by bands that are stoned a lot. More specifically, bands that take after Black Sabbath, Deep Purple and Judas Priest, to name a few, favoring heavy fuzz, soaring vocals, gothic organs and plenty guitar riffs. Groups that draw inspiration from old horror films, space travel and killer cults.
Local heavy music promoter Atlantean Collective put together a Blue Lamp bill that’s worth seeing, even sober: Ruby the Hatchet, Glitter Wizard, American Killers and Crimson Eye. Here’s why.
Crimson Eye is a neighborhood favorite for stoner-doom metal. Listen to their self-titled 2016 LP, or the song “Hammer Down (SuperChevy),” and you might agree. Now, this heavy ode to a nice car does seem like a trite innuendo for someone’s trophy woman out of the ’70s, but the tune’s buzzsaw fuzz and singer Carl Arana’s raspy bellows and screams make for catchy, moshable music regardless of your lyrical interpretation.
With Sac trio American Killers, imagine the arena-blasting simplicity of AC/DC, the upbeat noise of bands like Death From Above 1979, and the alt-metal angst of Deftones, vocalized by Eddie Underwood’s sometimes inaudible but vicious singing style. For a taste test, listen to their 2016 album, Young Blood, and the song “Big City.”
I mentioned organs, and Bay Area band Glitter Wizard likes them often in their psychedelic, progressive rock carnival. Extended, wah-ed guitar solos and Earth-foreign soundscapes are grounded by rough-and-tumble-in-the-dirt rock ’n’ roll. To hear what I’m saying, find their 2016 album, “Earth Hollow Tour.”
Then there’s the headliner: Philadelphia rockers Ruby the Hatchet. In their music video for “Vast Acid,” a stoned love song is presented as a parody of The Evil Dead, featuring a creepy forest cabin, skin-bound book of the dead and basement possessions. Aside from the band’s addictive ’70s psych- and prog-rock arrangements, vocalist Jillian Taylor, originally inspired by Stevie Nicks and Heart, is a room-filler, sporting a voice that’s epic, theatrical and rock-nostalgic. They’re touring their third album, Planetary Space Child, but their previous work is also worth your curiosity, particularly 2015’s Valley of the Snake.