By Dave Pehling
SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — The DNA Lounge hosts an epic five-band bill Sunday night as the West Coast tour of stoner-metal favorites Weedeater and the Obsessed comes to San Francisco.
Though they came together as a side project for Wilmington, North Carolina bassist Dave “Dixie” Collins in 1998, Weedeater soon became the musician’s main outlet when his main band, the pioneering sludge-metal outfit Buzzov*en, called it quits within months. Collins teamed with guitarist Dave “Shep” Shepherd and drummer Keith “Keko” Kirkum to craft the new trio’s lumbering style of southern-tinged stoner metal heavily indebted to the sound of Buzzov*en, the Melvins and Sleep.
The band’s early albums …And Justice For Y’all and Sixteen Tons, would lead to a deal with noted metal imprint Southern Lord Records. The trio’s two albums for the label — God Luck and Good Speed and Jason…the Dragon earned Collins and company solid reviews on both sides of the Atlantic. While they have not been the most prolific of bands, Weedeater has grown its fanbase with dogged touring and a reputation for punishingly loud shows. The band’s most recent album, Goliathan for new label Season of Mist, marked the recording debut of drummer Travis Owen when it came out in 2015.
For this run of West Coast dates, Weedeater is joined by heavy veterans the Obsessed. One of the most important of Black Sabbath’s down-tuned disciples to carry the torch of doom metal, Scott “Wino” Weinrich has left an indelible mark on heavy music over the course of four decades. The influential figure first emerged on the Washington, D.C. punk scene, confounding hardcore audiences with the sludgy riffs and lumbering tempos of his first band, the Obsessed.
The Maryland-based group would refine its ominous and foreboding sound for the better part of a decade, but would split up just as the band started making inroads towards a record deal (though the early version of the trio did manage some recordings). Wino would relocated to Southern California for a stint fronting like-minded West Coast brethren Saint Vitus.
Contributing to three albums by the SST Records act including the influential 1986 effort Born Too Late, Wino would grow as a singer before splitting to convene a new line-up of the Obsessed with drummer Greg Rogers (later of the ’90s doom group Goatsnake) and future Kyuss bass player Scott Reeder. The Obsessed would garner enough buzz to get signed to Columbia, putting out the landmark album The Church Within in 1994. Unfortunately, poor sales would lead to another dissolution to the band.
Wino briefly retired from music, but would emerged as a torchbearer for the old-school doom sound. Leading a variety of bands including Spirit Caravan, the Hidden Hand, and Place of Skulls as well as participating in several Saint Vitus reunions (one resulting in the new album Lillie: F-65 in 2012), recording with the doom supergroup Shrinebuilder featuring Wino alongside Neurosis founder Scott Kelly, Melvins drummer Dale Crover and Sleep/Om bassist Al Cisneros and issuing several acoustic albums including three collaborative collections with Conny Ochs.
Last year, doom metal fans rejoiced at the announcement that Wino was putting together a new line-up of the Obsessed with longtime Spirit Caravan bassist Dave Sherman and new drummer Brian Constantino. This version of the band put out a new album — the first Obsessed record in over two decades — earlier this month with the release of Sacred on Relapse Records. Widely praised as a spectacular comeback album packed with some of Wino’s heaviest riffs in recent memory, the collection bristles with headbanging tunes like “Punk Crusher” the title track and a new version of the early song “Sodden Jackal.” Though Sherman has since depart (he has been replaced by new bass player Reid Raley), fans are sure to be excited to see the revived band play material from the new effort.
The balance of the bill fills out a full evening of monolithic heaviness at the DNA Lounge Sunday with Denver-based blackened doom threesome Primitive Man, legendary desert-rock band Fatson Jetson (led by influential guitarist Mario Lalli) and instrumental West Virginia stoner-rock trio Karma To Burn all performing. SF’s own DJ Rob Metal spins tunes between bands.
Weedeater with the Obsessed
Sunday, April 30, 8 p.m. $20-$25
The DNA Lounge