You ever get that feeling when you’re listening to music that it’s a vessel for shutting out the world, leaving you in transcendence to just be here with the music for a while? It’s a not a “fuck you world” kinda feeling, it’s a “I’m going away for a while, pressing pause on everything” feel. Images pass by behind your back, and stuff happens outside, somewhere in another dimension. I’ve always loved music that does that, but I find it particularly precious in today’s crazy world. Maybe it’s just the years I’ve accumulated or my growing dislike for the human race, but I have a list of bands that are capable of helping me to shut the door and put on “BE BACK IN A WHILE” sign.
By now you’ve guessed that Dead Meadow is one of those bands, and I wouldn’t be surprised if you hadn’t heard of them before, despite the fact that they’ve been around since the late 90ies. Dead Meadow is the kind of band that doesn’t do big announcements, make mainstream videos or has a big label behind them to pimp the shit out of them, but rather, their PR is much like their music: subtle, thoughtful and sophisticated. These guys have released 7 studio albums, one live album and did a Peel Session for the famous John Peel at the BBC. Their music can best be described as psychedelic, filled with fuzzy guitar sound that tends to grow to epic stretches, dream-like atmosphere and bluesy field trips, drawing from the sounds of the old like Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin. And on a Sunday night, they came to my town.
It was a perfect fit: the beginning of summer when people start to be more relaxed and not give a shit, while Dead Meadow performed in a legendary Zagreb club famous for booking shows under the radar of the mainstream. The club was half-full, attracting fans that paid no mind it was a rainy Sunday night, in a club far from the city center. Two years before, they played a different club, and had to do a second show because the interest was so great. It only goes to show you can never know with people, and that being a promoter can be a shitty, thankless job.
Because of the lack of people in attendance, the atmosphere was more intimate, with a devoted, silent crowd that clapped and shouted only between songs. There was no annoying cacophony in the background, no one drunkenly yelling at the bar, no one pushing and shoving. Yep, perfect. (Yep, I’m old.)
They opened with a song from their inaugural album, the 2001 self-titled, and from there browsed through their discography, with the first half of the concert being composed of steady waters, without going to aforementioned epic stretches and jams. As I started to get a bit disappointed, because I was hoping to get a touch of fear and loathing in Las Vegas from these guys, they slowly started to open up to their music, the chords became longer and the jams started to fill the space, just enough to put a smile on your face. The three members of the band seemed to have no connection to each other. The singer, Jason Simon, was working, showcasing the “old pro” attitude, and doing his job correctly. The bass player, Steve Kille, well he was having fun, genuinely enjoying the show and their music, while the drummer (Juan Londono, a newcomer to the band) had the most peculiar style of playing drums (imagine someone always being in staff pose, lifting their entire arms up as they’re about to kick the drum), so at times you couldn’t stop looking at him.
Throughout the entire show, there was a projection of images behind the band and the members were mostly surrounded by dark lighting, shifting from green, to blue and to completely dark. Another perfect fit.
They finished the show with a “hit” from their debut, “Sleepy Silver Door”, which was okay, but I’m a fan of their more mature albums, such as Shivering King and Others, and was lucky to hear them perform a song of it.
And, with that in mind, I leave you with a favorite from said album, “Golden Cloud”. Please be sure to put up a BE BACK IN A WHILE SIGN.
Stay metal, people.