On Saturday July 5, 2014 Seattle rockers Witchburn hit the stage at The Alley in Sparks NV. The band is touring on their latest album Bathed in Blood which was released in Sept. 2013. Also on the bill, Ape Machine, Wild Throne and Reno locals Weight Of The Tide.
Witchburn is heavy, downtuned and a little southern fried, this is whiskey soaked sabbra cadabra. Their live show pulsates with seething, sultry and sweaty energy. Bringing as much groove as brutal thunder, the music is like a hammer, crashing down from the sky, straight into your soul, only you welcome its impact the moment they tear into their first song.
Spilling their guts on every stage they play, they've done shows and or tours with Slipknot, Helmet, Crowbar, Prong, Saint Vitus, Blue Cheer, Mudvayne, Dio Disciples, Orange Goblin, Fu Manchu, 3 Inches of Blood, Doro Pesch, Trouble, Zeke, Pentagram and Valient Thorr, to name a few.
The band, featuring the soaring, soulful vocal power and prowess of Jamie Nova and the monster riff-crafting of Mischa Kianne on guitar, and occasionally the violin too, along with the unmatched low-end heaviness of Jacy Peckham on bass coupled with the bone-crushing, rock solid groove offering from Dana Sims behind the drums,
Witchburn is the sound of rebellion in the voice of a hate-child, conceived during a mythical orgy between Black Sabbath, Janis Joplin, Ronnie James Dio and Heart.
The bands set lasted over 60 minutes and went like this, (from the set list on stage)
"Warning To The Weak", "Shuffle Up And Deal", "Der Hexenhammer", "(Ghost Walking) Into A Black Sunrise", "Whiskey On My Breath", "Rain Come, Cleanse Me", "Sweet Rock And Roll", "Stargazer" (Rainbow cover) w/ "Night Crawler" (Judas Priest cover) in the middle, and "Bleed The Stone".
Witchburn put on an incredible show, it was so powerful that during the third song they blew a circuit breaker and lost the guitar amp, but were back rocking all the fans a few minutes later.
Lead singer Jamie Nova has so much karma on stage along with the look of a true rocker, she has the entire venue eating out of her hands the entire set. As for the bands guitarist, Mischa Kianne, in this examiners opinion, she is by far one of the best female guitar players around. She is very impressive to say the least with shredding guitar solos as well. As a matter of fact the whole band rocks. This examiner can't understand why these guys and gals aren't doing all the Summer festivals going on this year, they're that good, I'm sure next Summer for sure.
Supporting act Ape Machine from Portland OR got the crowd going before Witchburn.
The name Ape Machine is a nod to the days of reel-to-reel magnetic tape audio recording, a fitting moniker for the heavy-hitting quartet as the band plays through vintage tube amplifiers and lays down its songs using exclusively throwback quality studio equipment.
With a heady mix of animal aggression and technical precision, Ape Machine's music carries an organic depth and warmth rarely heard since the time of rock's glorious early years (or your Dad's bad ass record collection) infused with an exceptional modern sensibility. When the mystical lyrics of vocalist Caleb Heinze lock in with the band's stone-cold groove, Ape Machine demonstrates an earth-shaking ability to rock. A true four-piece, the group has been called "a rock and roll band with a finger on the pulse of the 70's and their asses firmly in the present" and "real heavy-psych for the iPhone generation" that delivers "true guts and glory rock and roll".
Current members include, Caleb Heinze (vocals), Ian Watts (guitar), Brian True (bass) and Damon De La Paz (drums).
Their set lasted around 45 minutes and went like this,
"Break Your Hands", " Gun You Down", "Every Body Bleeds", "Tyrant's Arm", "Death Of The Captain", "Grind Of Defeat", "Mangled By The Machine" and "The Sun".
This was a true rock band, these guys poured their hearts and souls into every tune they played in true rock and roll form. A very impressive set.
Starting the night off was Wild Throne.
Wild Throne is a tribute to the raw, free, feral culture and arboreal beauty and power of the band’s home in the most distant corner of the Pacific Northwest. The trio spent 10 years playing in bands with and around each other in their hometown of Bellingham, Wash. before unifying in 2009 with a mission to hit hard.
The band’s progress in the early days of this pursuit has been documented on two vinyl EPs: 2011’s Boss Rhino EP and 2012’s Brass Tactics. The band’s sound is a sprawling mix of elements from Judas Priest, Mastodon, Queen, the Mars Volta, classic metal, thrash and progressive rock, creating music that Pitchfork once described as “exhilarating, fun and ferocious” and “proof that ambition and skill don’t automatically cancel out heart.”
The band consists of Joshua Holland (guitar/vocals), Noah Burns (drums) and Jeff Johnson (bass).
Their set lasted 45 minutes as well. (sorry no set list)
These guys were wild, they kinda had that Led Zeppelin sound and feel of Zeppelins early days. Ripping guitar, thumping bass lines and roaring drums. These guys killed it, a perfect start to the night.
Finishing the night off were Reno locals Weight Of The Tide.
Weight Of The Tide is a heavy, dynamic metal band, featuring what they call "the two most prominent metal musicians in the history of Northern Nevada".
Current members are, Mark Moots (vocals), Jason Thomas (drums), Jes Phipps (guitar, backing vocals) and Marcus Mayhall (bass).
These guys also got about 45 minutes to strut their stuff. (sorry again, no set list)
This band ended the night off by blowing the roof off the Alley, a perfect end to a great night of rock and roll. An awesome set to say the least.
With so many great venues in the Reno/Sparks area, the Alley holds their own, bringing many great shows to the area on a regular basis. To see what going on next, (click here)
We the fans of great music are very lucky to live in a city that has such a great variety of bands that play here, the Reno/Sparks music scene is very much alive and well.
A great time was had by all.
As with all this examiners reviews and feature stories, "The Photos Are What It's All About", so check out the photo slideshow and enjoy the show.
All photos by JOHN TUCKNESS
To see more photos of Witchburn at this show (click here)
Support your local bands and venues ... Go To A Show.