By Dave Pehling
SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Stoner-metal favorites Weedeater and blazing Seattle punk band Zeke bring their tandem tour to Northern California when the two outfits play shows in Sacramento, SF and Santa Cruz.
Though they came together as a side project for Wilmington, North Carolina bassist “Dixie Dave” 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, a reputation for punishingly loud shows and Dixie Dave’s kinetic, near cartoonish onstage performance that never fails to entertain. 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 one of the leading lights of Northwestern punk over the last quarter century, Zeke. Formed by guitarist and lead singer Blind Marky Feltchtone (aka Mark Yalowitz) and original drummer Donny Paycheck (born Donald Hales) in 1993, Zeke crafted a blistering, high-speed style of punk rock that was as indebted to the frenetic tempos of hardcore bands like Black Flag and fellow Northwesterners Poison Idea as to the hooky ’70s hard rock of Kiss and Ted Nugent. The early line-up was rounded out by second guitarist Dizzy Lee Roth and bassist Mark Pierce (who was later replaced by Abe Riggs and future High on Fire member Jeff Matz in the 2000s).
The band’s ferocious early output heard on its first two albums Super Sound Racing and Flat Tracker featured an onslaught of brief, pounding and to the point songs that showcased Feltchtone’s dexterous soloing. The two albums and tireless road work found the band building a national following and a reputation for its chaotic and sometimes violent live shows.
The band would sign a deal with punk imprint Epitaph Records, releasing Kicked in the Teeth in 1998 for the label while moving on to playing larger venues opening for the likes of avowed influence Motorhead and (surprisingly) alt-rock heroes Pearl Jam. But the volatility the band brought to its stage performance extended to the members’ lifestyle, with both Feltchtone and Paycheck struggling with substance abuse. Though they still managed to put out a few more combustible collections of new music — Dirty Sanchez in 2000 and Death Alley for Tee Pee Records the following year before switching to Relapse for ‘Til the Livin’ End in 2004– the band’s recording and touring activity would taper off later in the decade.
Paycheck and Feltchtone would reunite for reunion tours, but in the end, the guitarist convened a new lineup of the band with early era bassist Kurt Kilfelt, drummer Dayne Porras and former guitarist with Kentucky punk/metal band the Hookers Kyle Whitefoot for Hellbender, Zeke’s first new album in 14 years. Another incendiary salvo of punk fury, the effort shows the quartet is still in top form. For these three concerts in Northern California, Weedeater and Zeke will be joined by Ontario-based stoner/prog outfit Sierra, who recently put out their latest album, The Mirror..
Weedeater with Zeke
Sunday, July 8, 8 p.m. $20
The Blue Lamp
Monday, July 9, 8 p.m. $20
Tuesday, July 10, 8 p.m. $20