with Karma to Burn, Lo Pan, and Lightning Born
Sunday, May 14th, 2017 – The Pour House
RDU Music is back to kick off the 2017 summer concert season with coverage of the venerable Scott “Wino” Weinrich’s first love, The Obsessed.
Boasting an impressive pedigree of local acts, openers Lightning Born have fused together into a surprisingly cohesive unit for being such a new band. Although that should be unsurprising since its members have done time in COC, The Hell No, Demon Eye, and RDU Music faves, Mega Colossus.
Up next was Ohio’s Lo Pan, taking their name from the evil sorcerer in Big Trouble in Little China, and bringing their own brand of stoner rock to the riff-hungry Pour House crowd. Lo Pan employed an interesting yet obvious-when-you-think-about-it stage setup in which the drum kit and frontman swapped positions, leaving vocalist Jeff Martin to hang back, allowing the crowd to focus on the more animated members of the band. At that time, I thought that setup was odd but the more I pondered it, the more it made sense. What are you really watching a vocalist do? As a “music journalist,” I always find myself paying more attention to a drummer’s go-go-gadget arms or a shredder’s guitar-histrionics anyway so you do you, Lo Pan. That led me down the rabbit hole of pondering the perceived necessity of vocalists in metal across the board. For a band like Lo Pan, sure. But for Dying Fetus? Your indecipherable “vocals” sound like farts and bring nothing to the table.
My fellow RDU Music mates demonstrated some rather witty commentary during Lo Pan’s set that I have dutifully shared here via screenshot. [The mean things we say about bands in the moment are priceless but are generally so catty that I fear we will alienate any band that decides to grace the greater Triangle area with their presence if I print them. Then I look at our paltry website traffic and remember that I have nothing to worry about. -Ed.]
Closing out the opening acts was a great set by instrumental stoner rock vets, Karma to Burn. Boasting the mantle of “Only Band I Can Name From West Virginia,” K2B really nails the payoff that many instrumental bands find so challenging: Bringing it back home at the end of a song. They are at the top of their game. Also, their drummer is a human personification of Animal from the Muppets. It was uncanny. Unfortunately, I must give him a demerit for the wood block on his kit. I find it funny when you drag a piece of gear all the way across the country for just one bridge of one song. Either way, K2B’s riffs were dank and their set closer was a straight banger.
I could tell that photog extraordinaire Lan was in good spirits as he would return to my basecamp and regale me with tales of his photography in the wild. “I think I kneeled on a sanitary napkin.” The Pour House, ladies and gentlemen! Don’t forget to tip your waitress. He also confessed that instead of Karma to Burn, he thought we were seeing Mission of Burma. Nothing against the night’s lineup (which was solid, through and through) but if Mission of Burma were playing the Pour House, I would have dashed up front with a raging, mega-huge fanboy boner. I love me some Signals, Calls, and Marches.
After a positively riffy night of beers and patented RDU Music shenanigans, we were ready to strap in and witness one of the greats do his thing with The Obsessed. And I can testify that Wino was born to solo. It is so effortless and he manages to do it with the most lustrous mane of silver hair that I have ever seen. Most touring bands are lucky to be blessed with two showers a month which leads me to believe that Wino employs a team of fabulous stylists, akin to what an artist like Madonna might bring with her. [It’s true. I fact-checked the hell out of it. -Ed.] New bassist Reid Raley has his beverage game on lock down. He had 9 drinks laid out in a row on the banister in what appeared to be in order of potency. Well played.
It’s impressive how fresh and relevant the Obsessed sounds after all these years. Wino is out there every day proving that metal is timeless, and not only because he looks like he time-traveled straight from 1979. May his fiery riffs outlive us all.