WITNESS THE RIFFS OF DESERTFEST NYC DAY Three
Text and Photos: Charles Nickles
Day three is always the pits but I’ve got marching orders from the Great White North so Ima shuck the dust of my DTs, grab a bacon, egg and cheese and make my way to BK to soak up the long last dance with lady haze.
I know this band. They replaced some band. I’m pretty sure them and Geng’s two-piece opened for Thou some years back and I KNOW I must of dug on their ferociously fried-eyed sewer rat doom in the kind, dank hallows of Vitus but by the brutal light of day and with a belly full of bourgeois pork their (recently) shorn sonic deluges are rude, barren portent of the long, grim days ahead.
But I guess that’s good, right?
No reason to be pleasant about it.
Gaaaawd-DAMN! this is the hot fuzz, space dog, dead-tooth hammer jam swingin’ ugly party wrecking ball Mean Gene cream dream.
I mean it’s tight, man.
Like a fucking war drum.
Like my asshole circa ’93 and speedy as a three-card grift.
Ruby the Hatchet
I only know this band on account of the accolades Heavy Temple used to pour on them but Instagram honor’s got nothing on the rotgut stomp and wail of these (surprisingly) New Jersey natives.
And that’s nothing against the state.
That place has favored us New Amsterdams with the Boss, cheap smokes and Lady Liberty for decades.
The surprise is that Ruby the Hatchet don’t come from straight bayou stock being as their vibe is total white witch voodoo fuck rawk groove chasing Trans Am gator bait like it’s fly fishing.
Which, yeah, I guess it is.
Folks got a myth about Texas the same way they do about NYC.
It’s all cowboys and crime.
And I don’t much know what all Duel has to do with any of the above but goddamn if they don’t blast the hellbound hallelujahs like a couple of dust freaks chewing lead to pass the gallows.
Like rock and roll ain’t no funny game until you get yourself killed and then it’s a positive riot that wins your busted visage a place of honor as flash at your local stick and poke and before you know it (which you won’t because death’s a cruel mofo) your adorning a hundred and one pale thighs and if only it were that easy to love you when you were still alive…
I can never really remember if I like ASG or not but someone mumbling important here does and so I follow her into the pit with a relish I only save for such cracked Sundays.
And they are solid as fuck.
Total good vibe high like a tender-petting summerfest make-out session with your best friend in the tall grass and long shadow of the paper mill where you used to come and steal smokes and trade stories about imagined lovers from parts unknown.
So, yeah…I guess they’re kinda sweet, really. Heavy, heavy and all and I do so wish they would scream a bit more they’re gentle heft is enough to get the sentimentalists raising their fists.
Thick-gummed Swedish fuzzstomp annihilation RAWK of the HIGHest order, Monolord are just the kind of turgid beast a body needs to snap out of the last pang’s of an Weedeater hangover to be present as fuck for the last gasp fucking hurrah.
Not that I wasn’t here before and perhaps it’s all synergy and shit.
Some rare perfect (and otherwise ill-advised) intestinal balance of beer, coffee and pork meeting a seriously thunderous low end and fuck-god wail which totally resets my serotonin levels to that of a good man doing right by his life.
Or maybe it’s just so loud I can’t feel my jaw shaking.
Whatever the case, I’ll take it.
Green Milk from the Planet Orange
Like electric squirrels in a blender bleeding neon horror and squeals to the ineffable savagery of the bone beat.
Like an undisciplined Uncle Meat run amok on German crank.
Like Onanie Bomb Meets the Sex Pistols sans scat and manically expanded to the breaking point of the great cosmic unconscious belief that the two universal truths are time and music and between the two a body can find a simple peace.
Like “WHAT THE FUCK?!?” made song.
And I just love it so goddamn much I could spit.
But it’s not that kind of whirlwind.
Here comes the warm jet crashes.
Here come explosions from the deep.
Here comes sleep on the desert shores.
Here come Elder with their big time riff-whip dirge elations that ebb and flow between the barbarian longings of an unkempt Christ and the solemn violence of Buddha’s fist.
It’s almost perfect music in some ways: loud, brash, long and contemplative, offering tender atmosphere to cruel dirges while punctuating merciful post-rock swells with sweet, holy hell.
Sometimes it’s just rock and roll.
That’s not true.
Whatever Elder do can never be reduced to the time-honored escape of the 4/4 blast. I mean, even if they do keep even time they only do so to give their sound a body which they can torment, flay and betray under the auspice of beatific expositions and maybe Monolord didn’t really fix me, huh?
Maybe I should be in bed with a salad, already.
I really, really, really wanted to see Mick’s Jaguar with some semblance of humanity left in me because everything about this band just begged for a good-time blackout party but I’m a wreck.
A shitless heathen too shaky for hell.
Turns out that’s the ideal frame of mind to catch this band of late city miscreants crash and bang the good/bad time party anthemics like no one since The Pleaser pissed everyone off SO HARD and I only wish I were unemployed so I could get my nose broke shotgunning a few cold ones past curfew but I guess paying rent is pretty cool too.