Noise Pop Happy Hour 2: The Re-Drinkening.
With an aching liver and a head still thumping from the previous night’s show, I braced myself for another evening of heavy rock n’ roll courtesy of Bender’s. Looking at the packed bar I could see this crowd was a much different breed: Studded jackets, neck tattoos, Death and Electric Wizard patches, caveman facial hair, pierced noses, lips and eyes. Things were gonna get loud. Earplugs are for the weak.
War Cloud kicked things off with colossal riffs that would make Jimmy Page smile and drum fills that would make Keith Moon proud. Raid my vinyl collection and you could come up with a hundred or so comparisons: Sabotage-era Sabbath, Deep Purple at their most menacing, even a little Ted Nugent swagger thrown in for good measure. They play the kind of music that makes me feel like a fifteen-year-old again, wishing I was around to experience the decadent, hard-rocking ’70s in all its hedonistic grandeur. Scintillating solos, sexy bass lines, stoner-cool persona – this band had it all.
Next up was the Traveling Ills, traveling all the way from Santa Cruz to be part of the Noise Pop experience. Another killer act that wowed the audience even after a bass amp malfunction threatened to derail their danceable garage rock sound. They were able to fill the gap with an impromptu rendition of Zeppelin’s “Over The Hills And Far Away,” with singer Cassandra Cronin nailing the lead vocal line, then proceeded to energize the crowd with a set of catchy, dirty rock reminiscent of Shocking Blue and Jefferson Airplane.
Wild Eyes closed things out with a performance that will have my ears ringing for days (earplugs are for the weak, just keep telling yourself that). Incredible drumming, riveting stage presence from each member, and a sound so huge you wonder how the bar could possibly sustain a volume of such magnitude, this band ended the show with a bang to say the least. More like an atomic bomb explosion. It’s nice to know rock n’ roll never died.