So, the worlds gone to hell, COVID has taken hold, and has effectively closed down music. What can be done? How can things ever be the same again? What can we do? Well, to start, we could buy some albums. Do you remember those days? Actually buying a physical item, not downloading it, or listening through a streaming service, but by actually investing some money? Maybe buy some merch, and support the bands that way? After all, what’s another shirt for the collection?
Well, what about the idea of collecting up some of the most mind-numbingly awesome stoner rock bands, and transporting them to the Mojave Desert, and have them play there? Secluded, socially distanced, and safe? Sounds like absolute craziness? Maybe you’ve smoked too much green? Or have you?
Well, be prepared to have your tiny minds blown, because that is what the Live In The Mojave Desert series has proved can be done. At present, there are four that have been released, with number five out imminently, but for now, I would like to draw your attention to Volume 5, California’s Mountain Tamer, and their incredible set, which was streamed this weekend just gone.
After a decade of producing some absolutely mind-numbing stoner craziness, it seems to have culminated in this one incredible episode, set in the wastelands of the Mojave. It’s a place not best known for its air-conditioned venues, or often frequented by heavy bands, looking for a place to rock out.
The beauty of this instalment as it plays through, it feels monumental and timeless. Maybe it’s the setting, maybe it’s the beautiful camerawork, or maybe its just the whole vibe, but watching Mountain Tamer run through the set, which includes six tracks from twenty twenties Psychosis Ritual opus, really captures the band on top form. The bands signature drudgy, distorted heaviness works in perfect harmony with the arid desert backdrop, and even as a viewer, I can feel the closeness of the heat, stifling the mix.
The bands signature drudgy, distorted heaviness works in perfect harmony with the arid desert backdrop…
One of the most wonderful things for this whole occasion is that the recording quality and vision is incredible, if you close your eyes, you can’t even tell that it’s a live performance. Partly it’s down to the bands whole DIY dynamic, so always sounds very instant and live and so easily could have been recorded in a studio.
Seeing the band perform gives an added layer to the whole affair, and the bands energy literally burns through the screen showing them at their most energetic. This is particularly evident on their blistering rendition of Scorched Earth, the sound against the prehistoric backdrop is so monumental, that all it needs is for some dinosaurs lumbering past to be truly complete. There’s something so primitive and tribal about the whole experience, and the location is perfectly matched to the soundtrack.
Mountain Tamer are interesting to watch perform too, it looks fun and insane, in equal measure. It’s that experience which has encouraged me to now go back and seek out the other sessions, because if they’re all as captivating as this, that will truly be an incredible experience to behold.
In a time when live performances are at a standstill, and most live streams feel cold and soulless, to have this new series being released is an absolute godsend. As a prolific gig goer, I know the pain is real, and hopefully the Live In The Mojave Desert sessions will see me through until the planet reopens again. They truly capture the very essence of seeing a band play live, and it’s that which warms my heart the most.
This series is an essential purchase for any stoner rock enthusiast, and if you’re missing watching bands do what they do best, then you need to get on this trip ASAP. But that’s not all; Heavy Psych Sounds will also be releasing the recordings on CD and various glorious vinyl pressings, for more information and to purchase, head over to the labels website.
Scribed by: Lee Beamish