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flyerThis past weekend saw a huge 3 day event simply monickered FreakTulsa; featuring metal ranging from Death Metal to Fuzz Meta, Doom to Psyche Rock and it simply DECIMATED in Tulsa, Oklahoma. If you weren’t there, you probably got to sleep quite a bit, but holy reverb, did you miss 3 evenings worth of fuzz, volume, riffs, and did I say VOLUME?!

Follow the break for some words about the bands who crossed the threshold into awesomeness that night!


Where: Tulsa, Oklahoma

Venue: Downtown Lounge (link)

Day 1:

Violint Wednesday
From: Brooklyn

Violint Sky
Mister Wednesday
Professor Wilde
Mr. Meterman
Dr. Baker
Lady Pipes
Geeves Francis
Etc. Etc. Etc.

A band outside my spectrum, Violint Wednesday absolutely blew me away from the first notes. If you aren’t familiar with how they roll, they are female fronted, with Violint Sky (Singer) also playing the violin with extreme verve. Being a mix of styles with a punk ass attitude, they are super high energy and manage to give you sparkling highs, crunchy guitar, violint harmony and disharmony, and a proper bass end akin to a little bit of reggae.
The vocal portion, and lyrics, are wild. Almost stream of consciousness, the words pour forth in a scat poetry content. It’s just coming at you and it flows into you all at once… by far some of the most fun I’ve listened to in a while! And, bonus, they did an H.P. Lovecraft tribute, so hell yeah!
It’s a solid mishmash of things fed to you with aggressive and loud vigor, so you better savor it; definitely the closest I’ve been in spirit to what punk was in this day of smooth production and the corporate music factory.

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From: Oklahoma

DJ Bryant – Guitar/Vocals
Jeremy Wingard – Guitar
Logan Wood – Drums
Adam Smith – Bass

Oberon is a forward leaning, groovy doom band with a lovely atmospheric edge to their sound. They jam hard, with a double kick assault, nice and thick bass lines laying tracks for their train to barrel down, and wield dual guitars so they can chug and riff AT THE SAME TIME. They lay in the same valley as Baroness, Black Tusk, a little Mastodon-esque, and others in that vein. They play loud, proud, and stay extremely animated on stage, showing their comfort zone is anywhere they say it is.
Vocally, very close to Baroness. It’s a clean delivery, with a little pedal effect thrown in to make it sound expansive; Delivery is full bore and just as in your face as much of the straight musical content. Be prepared to be given all she’s got, captains.
Overall, a hellaciously fun band to see, full of some shrednasty and a great live sound; fully recommend seeing these guys if Overall, a hellaciously fun band to see, full of some shrednasty and a great live sound; fully recommend seeing these guys if you can. Bring some ear plugs and let yourself be bathed in metal.

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Senior Fellows
From: Oklahoma


So. Fucking. Loud. Senior Fellows blasted me right out of my chair, first when the bassist unleashed a titanic thrum attack, and secondarily when they came out of the gates looking to crack the heavens and spill blood. Riding in the crustiest of sludge/doom, Senior Fellows fills the room with purely destructive energy. As their vocalist stalks the stage, looking like he’s possessed, screaming with every fiber of his being, the bassist and drummer/guitarist (drummer quit prior to show) are simply pummeling you with crushing, abrasive scuzz, taking layers off your ears and brain. These are true volume dealers, weaponizing their sound with just cranking the knob waaaaaay off.
Senior Fellows is simply scathing. Heaviness is a by product.
Tossing aside their guitar sound to be a click track (as it made zero difference in how heavy they came to play), these guys nail it. They simply control the room, dominating through will and volume levels, and keep you enthralled with their vocalist’s intensity. Very much a MUST SEE band if you want something definitively heavier than your regular show.

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Psychotic Reaction
From: Oklahoma

Members: (Not all at FreakTulsa)
Nolan Dacus – Guitar/Vocals/Bass/Slide/theremin Robert Layton – Guitar/Vocals/Bass/Slide/Harmonica Whitt Condit – Percussion/Vocals Past and sometimes present members: Rory Baker – Percussion Race Baker – Bass/Vocals Turtle Cain – Guitar/vocals John Brakefield – Guitar/Bass/Drums/Tamborine Heath Sitton – Guitar/Slide Kevin Lough – Guitar/Vocals/Tamborine/Keys Josh Henning – Percussion Beau Mansfield – Keys Wally Talkington – Guitar Vanessa Scholle – Keys/tamborine/vocals Phil Rod – percussion Branden Tapley – Percussion Dallas Sears – Bass Spencer Tracy – Beer Clint Petty – Percussion/networking Justin Davis – Guitar

Honestly, not my cup of tea. Psychedelic Rock has never really been something to grab my attetnion, but these guys are young and I applaud them for getting it down pat. They ride right in the middle of the genre, playing a very capable desert/fuzz rock that is awesome for ambiance and pure visceral enjoyment of the rock spirit.
It just didn’t grab me, but that’s my own personal demon to wrestle with.

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Brother Gruesome
From: Oklahoma


Bringing thundering guitar and drum, being a gruesome twosome, Brother Gruesome brings the pain! Distorted guitar simply comes down like a message from a pissed off god, wondering what you’ve been about, whilst the drums counter with pealing strikes and kicks that sound like they want to destroy the bass drum. Vocals are just the guitarist’s distorted scream at the audience, bringing the very soul out to unburden itself.

If you can’t tell, I really enjoyed my short time with Brother Gruesome, and wish to heaven I knew more of their catalog, since I know zero. They put on a hell of a show, full of solid energy, not all that animated but that’s absolutely not a knock against them. It was just a clamor that resolved itself into a fantastic performance that you should really experience for yourself.

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Burn Thee Insects
From: Arizona

Lucust French
Mitchell French

Hell Yeah! BTI was actually one of the bands I was very much looking forward to seeing, and actually had a pretty cool time with them last night, as they had got into Tulsa just a little before me, and I hadn’t had the chance to check out their music beforehand.
Short Version: PURE FUZZ FURY!!!!
They throw down harder than most bands I’ve seen in larger venues, and it’s just pure grade A++ Ground DOOOOOOOOOOM. The bass is just a giant throb session that rumbles the rafters, while guitar/vocals (Mitchell, son of Lucust, the bassist) chugs and strums along with it, creating a mesmerizing landscape of coruscating mental static that just draws you in; not to be left behind,the drums absolutely lays down some hot rails to hell in the form of some fantastic skin wok, absolutely beating them like war drums on a Viking war boat.
It’s like if a Nirvana I would actually buy an album from. Low key groovy.
Altogether, Burn Thee Insects brings venues to their knees, as they rock your faces off with bedrock solid string work, a fire sale on combined fuzz drives, and the simple fact they come to break your heavy music cherry, even if you’re a seasoned vet of the circuit and underground. They want you to be fans, and they won’t take no for an answer.
*They channel the spirits of Dio and Randy Rhoads (IM RANDY!), so expect to feel just so much hot blood running through your veins*

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From: Missouri

Caleb Wyels – Percussion
Carter Lewis- Guitar
Jordan Knorr – Vocals
Chase Thayer – Bass

Retro Doom outfit Merlin showed the hell up tonight! Dripping with that way and Sabbathian tone, they brought the hammer down upon the Downtown Lounge!
Playing a faster style of classic weed/doom metal, they slay live, what with all the actual shred work up and down the frets, punishing the wah pedal as they rock it back and forth into tortured ululations as they bend and strike the guitar strings, all while some spaced out vocals bring cathedral sized room to the DLT. Rock steady drumming dominates the back end, laying under a resoundingly huge bass, whose strings bring us a planet made entirely of fuzz and atmosphere. They even bring a tambourine!!!
Vocally, they sound close to some early Electric Wizard, very spacious and echoing. Very Doom, one might say. Delivered clean, it lays in perfectly with the massive amount of sonic assault going on around the whole stage. Encapsulated in a fog, literal fog as they have a machine, they bring their own atmosphere to lay you down to rest in.
If you’re lucky enough to hit a show that Merlin is at, you’re gonna get your face burned by the absolute power flowing off that stage. Energy, fog, actual guitar tomfoolery, and some American fuzz combine into a maelstrom fit for the Gods of Metal themselves.

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From: Oklahoma

Gawd Less- Guitar
Don Freshpinales- Bass
Charlie King- Drums
Lee – Vocals

Throwing down the fastest performance of the night, both due to being the fastest band on the bill and due to a time constraint, Contagion237 simply ripped ear drums out.
Combining wide ranging fret dancing over some furious blast beats, all while vocals simply made my throat hurt as fast and malicious as it was guttural, they threw a wave of hatred over the crowd as they worked the set like it was a back alley brawl.
The style was a mix of modern death metal with technical mastery and a deathcore speed and attack, with the band having a pretty sweet stage gimmick of some members dressed as the last HMO approved doctors I would ever want to see. It was, again, super fast, super heavy, and drenched in pure aggression. Catch the Contagion if you can!

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Silver Screen Monsters (Best of the Bill)
From: Oklahoma

Bass: Grimey Illizilla
Drums: Topher Gomez
Guitar: Grimm
Guitar: Chuck T. Pantera
Vox: Jimmy Massengill

Highest energy band of the night, hands down. Period. SSM came out, and not going to lie, completely had my doubts during the soundcheck. Thought was going to be a run of the mill death metal/deathcore band, and was gladly proven wrong.
With an approach close to that of trash metal bands, these guys bring so much to the stage: brutal call and receive vocals, a technical guitar assault at perfect intervals that makes the instrument sing with absolutely beautiful shred arrangement as the guitarist’s fingers dance on the frets, a bassist who can hold a beer bottle in his mouth as he soundchecks, and a singer who got a pretty tired room to pit twice, even though they had a massively cut down set due to earlier complications by the show at the start.
SSM absolutely nailed the room to the wall and swung full force at the collective chin, and landed square. The energy whipped up after an d8 hour day for a few of us left our spirits energized and actually excited afterwards, despite it being almost 2am on the dot. This is why you go to these shows, you never know what golden nugget you’ll find early in the morning if you wait long enough! And they moved into probably #1 of the bands I have seen that I never knew about from this show.

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Day 2:

From: Oklahoma

Ryan Davis (guitar, vocals)
Nicholas Wojcik (drums)
Austin Wylie (bass)

Doom. Held bass notes, thrumming and rumbling in the air, over drumming that shifts from down tempo to a tempest of strikes, and guitar that that dominates with held power chords cranked to the max and held; the entire effect is one of pervasive power, as the air before a battle.
Hydra excels at this form and lowers the boom efficiently and to tradition. It is a loud maelstrom of fuzz and gain, and honestly is much bigger than a 3 piece would seem to warrant. As an opener, they have definitely come with their A game to show the, very sadly, small (real talk: 12 people on a Saturday at 5:35 pm) crowd that people are missing out on what’s to come.
And an aside, I have always heard of comedians and the more talk oriented types of performers facing away from crowds during shows, for various reasons, but his is the first time I have seen a band do it. The vocalist/guitarist for Hydra faces the bassist, and I haven’t seen him look at the punter area yet. No clue as to why, but just a different approach to their craft.
Hydra would definitely be a fit with a Khemmis, Electric Wizard, Slowmatics, or any low and slow tour crowd set. The turn out is a disservice to them and the show, and the people of Tulsa should be SHAMED! SHAME!

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Sun Vow
From: Oklahoma


Sun Vow is much more of an I-want-to-say Shoegaze, simply because I can’t remember my genres at the moment, but the sound is very spacious and lush, with a quick beat but very low, melancholic quality. They indeed embody the sound of the spirit of the name, as it’s not for someone looking to feel super upbeat.
They play very well, not just relying on chords and simple changes, but throw a lot of picking action down while keeping a fat bass section going with a 6 string. I’m most likely not doing the description justice, as it really is a fun set, just honestly not in my wheelhouse and not for my emotion wavelength.
Sun Vow is for the multicolored hair and severe bangs crowd, who stand and nod while swaying to an unfelt wind. IF you want an atmospheric, fairly heavy time, check them out if they are near you. Bring a lighter, be a beacon in the night!

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From: Texas

Jesse Scott: Vocals
Chris Kinsey: Guitar
Dan Keil: Bass
Cole Brock: Drums

PRI is a full frontal metal assault out of Dallas, TX, a 3 piece consisting of 2 guitarists, one of which handles the vocals, and a drummer, and us a slight mask gimmick for the rhythm guitarist (black surgical mask) and the drummer (full face, think The Mask with Jim Carrey).
Very straightforward metal, somewhat speedy, full to the brim with chug, and gritty as hell. It’s solid southern metal, with gruff vocals, just a bit politically charged, and very much a head bobbing show. Tight playing and bombastic stick work make for a pretty good time and it wouldn’t hurt to be with a preferred alcoholic beverage to lift into the air at the same time.
PRI isn’t flashy, there’s no extended solos, and it’s to the point, so come to have fun and just enjoy the ambiance of some great Texas southern metallic music!

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From: Oklahoma


Was really expecting something totally different from the name Grind, like maybe way more sludgy and noisy.
Grind is all about the groove and how to play that heavy blues and hard rock. This is a jamtastic band, filled with fret work and bass lines that can only be described as PHAT. Grind a fucking ROCK band, and they carry themselves with a swagger belying larger acts such as the Rev. Heat, Brian Setzer, and Jimmy Vaughn. It’s hot rod rock, straight forward and lit by the buzzing neon lights of a wet street at night or a bar in the wee hours. Dual guitars with a sizzling lead simply grab at the soul with claws outstretched, and I dare you to say it’s not heavy denim rock n roll.
Makes me want get a mustang and stupid amounts of pomade…

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Destroyer of Light
From: Texas

Steve Colca – guitar/vocals
Jeff Klein- Bass
Keegan Kjeldsen – guitar
Penny Turner -drums

Destroyer of Light came out, and tumbled a giant on the crowd. Heavy on the atmosphere, and based well into the blues spectrum, they deftly craft their sound into a fog that enshrouds you in sound, channeling fuzz fueled doom a permeating force of nature. The feedback along made me shiver in its intensity
Destroyer of Light destroy live, they use a massive wall of amps, Orange predominantly, and those dual guitars just kind of crush you with a wave of distorted beauty. They vibrate your damn bones as they play, with the clean vocals layering like a eulogy for the dead. It carries everywhere, and just have to move with it.
Playing is a mix of the basic chording of the Heavy Blues while they just slay with some riffage sprinkled throughout, like seasoning the perfect steak. Harmonies simply elevate their music to savagery, as they basically just hammer you twice as hard from both sides of the stage. And I keep saying energy, but they really do let it flow and fill the room. They constantly engage the crowd, and show veteran skill they wear alongside their patches and long hair.

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King Buffalo
From: New York

Sean McVay – Guitar & Lead Vocals
Dan Reynolds – Bass & Lights
Scott Donaldson – Drums & Vocals

King Buffalo, out of NY, are absolutely one of the best Heavy Blues/Doom bands touring right now. I will fight you if you say otherwise. Between the killer style they have and the pure tone destruction they yield, they are going to drop you on the floor with their shows.
Keeping the sound spacious and so warm you could snuggle in it like a blanket, they fill all the space with fuzz and echo, stuffing it to capacity as they simply rev the blues engine into the Overdrive gear. They keep it simple with a 3 piece, guitar/drum/bass, and simply focus on playing the shit out of their gear. Again, expect a Heavy Blues show, tuned down low, with that high end sparkle and tons of rhythm to balance that Blues. Bombinating bass lines simply grab you while the guitar picks out notes that cascade like ocean waves into your head holes. Drumming is superb and makes a tapestry upon which the bass and guitar both weave into, and the vocals paint themselves upon.
Heavy on actual playing and not overly relying on effects to drive the music home, King Buffalo just puts on a bedrock solid show by utilizing fun human tricks on the guitar like vibrato, bends, mute sliding whilst picking, and other cool old school tricks to make the music just more interesting. Effects are there, but they highlight the players instead of themselves.
King buffalo Is one of the major highlights of the festival, and you NEED their newest album, Orion, very badly.

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Constant Peril
From: Oklahoma

Reid Hawley
Braxton Mundell
Aaron Marler
Jordan Westbrook
Norm Colbert

Best mic check of the night! I’d buy that used car for a dollar…
Constant Peril is punishing Death Metal in the vein of fuck your couch. The playing is pretty traditional, none of the Core additions of sweeps, meeps, or creeps, and sounds a bit thrashy. Excellent execution and clean playing articulation allow you enjoy the actual music, without being too muddy or obtuse. Vocally, CP has two settings: death growl, and death squeal. Bouncing between these two, they absolutely wreck on stage, pushing their playing and vocalization outwards towards the audience.
They also play at extreme volumes, with the kicks being pumped enough that it feels like the sub system is inside my chest. Again, it behooves you guys to freaking bring ear plugs!
Think of it as a baptism of extremity. Constant Peril definitely is for the consumer of Death Metal and other types of the extreme spectrums. And as a bonus, they were previously only loud enough to knock down parts of this venues ceiling. They assured me that they were MUCH louder this go around.
My teeth kind of feel weird now. And I feel like I’ve laid on a vibrating bed for around an hour. Dear Lord, thank you for ear plugs. #volumedealersarethedevil

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Bailed. Due to a disagreement with another band, a NO SHOW.

Book of Wyrms
From: Virginia

Jay Lindsey – bass
Chris DeHaven – drums
Kyle Lewis – guitar
Ben Coudriet – guitar
Sarah Moore Lindsey – vocals, effects

Coming in second for volume award, we have the doomy Book of Wyrms! Female fronted, church hall reverb, and a decidedly American fuzz sound, BoW fills your internal cavities with all kinds of fun sounds and vibrations as they let the fattest bass of the night purr its sweet lullaby into your waiting brain pan.
Also on the attack is a lovely dual guitar harmony session that rips into the air like a buzzsaw, albeit a mellow one, caressing you like a close lover. They are a badass low key ensemble, adding in some sweet phase shifter action, handled by the lead singer, and drive their aural message with some heavy Marshall action. However, they do have an aggressively heavy streak, as their rhythm portions are solid as tanks and pretty much just as heavy. And they throw down the gauntlet with slide guitar, which goes a really long way towards pulling on my heart strings.
Book of Wyrms definitely sits perfectly in their genre, and is deserved of much lauding as they bring thunder and lay tremblings upon the earth and man-made structures. Be forewarned that you shall leave shaky with the spent energy of their riffing fury.

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Noted themes of Day 2: Bombinating basses, huge church hall reverb, spacious vocals, DOOOOOOOOOM, and volume loud enough to use instead of water boarding.

Day 3:

Blunt Splitter
From: (Guessing) Oklahoma

A Keytar + People

First things first: FUCKING KEYTAR.
Now that I have said this, Blunt Splitter is like a sledge hammer where a ball peen is needed. Doom mixed with crusty punk, with that keytar thrown in for eccentric oddity. They rumble and force their way over the crowd with this Molotov cocktail, and it’s devastating. Speed and that vicious fuzz combine into a riot of sound that demolishes. Like the Munsters mixed with anarchists.
Hellaciously fun, definitely on my repeat viewing list if I am in the area again.

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Google has no idea.

Lucid Awakening
From: Oklahoma

Colton Miller- Guitar
Garrett Miller- Bass
Nikki Santistevan- Drums
Jake Jezek- Guitar

Lucid Awakening brought all sorts of proggy goodness with them, as they also didn’t bring a singer to ruin it!
Full of full fret board runs and more bass work than a Warwick employee, Lucid Awakening fully engaged the audience and all eyes were focused on the stage as the 4 piece simply broke it down before us. At once melodic and raging, their sound was beautifully pitched to elicit harmonic responses from the heart strings, and heavy enough to crush easily.

Dual guitars means twice the work in half the time, and they certainly filled their quota on this set list. Fingers worked like spider legs to efficiently string together riffs and runs that grabbed some newcomers in the audience right away and had some “WOW” faces going on. Certifiable breakdowns abounded and even the most stalwart of old metal heads would have some fun with this band. Lucid Awakening certainly created one.
These young guys are what we need in place of Periphery. And if you like Perifairy, please go take your IPAs and patent leather shoes elsewhere, and those skinny jeans look stupid. In case your mother was too embarrassed to tell you.

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Youngblood Supercult
From: Kansas

Bailey Smith–guitar
Weston Alford–drums
David Merrill–vocals/bass

Straight up Doom delivery from the Topeka, Kansas foursome! Heavy Rock n Roll vibe with that oh so lush hall sized vocal reverb just makes this a rich set,
YBSC is also a bit different in having a female guitarist, absolutely holding the fat guitar end down, riffing with any of the doom bands who crossed the stage previously. Though not super riffy nor showy, SuperCult simply just chugs through faces with that old school feel. Backed by tons of amp and plenty of fuzzy goodness, they are stalwarts of the doom n roll style.

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The Great Electric Quest
From: California

Tyler “T-Sweat” Dingvell – Vocals
Buddy Donner – Guitar
Adam “The Mayor” West – Drums
Caleb Quam – Bass/Vocs

There is literally not enough words in my lexicon to tell you how fun this band is. I never heard of them before this bill, and holy fuzz there is no more fun a surprise than a band that blows the venue up this hard.
The delivery is simply just METAL. Old school throw your spleen into it vocals, jump up on the bar and belt it at you, shred upon riff upon Avon, and just a blast to be there while they performed for basically other bands and the bar staff. It was literally a crime to see how few people were there to attest to this monumental performance. TGEQ was a THE breakout Band of the weekend, for me, as they simply just came in and gave us everything. Shining moment was a cover of Deep Purple’s Highway Star, which was THE SICKEST VERSION I have personally ever been able to attest to. The vocals were perfect, as T Sweat pretty much gave blow for blow with Coverdale, and the band was note for note the entire time. The crowd was just in like Flynn, and I would have loved an encore of just that.
The Great Electric Quest is a band that everyone needs to know about IMMEDIATELY, and they need to be on every radio station on loop. They bring the highest energy quotient to the stage, and they are going to convert you. Just bow down immediately.

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Red Wizard
From: California

Travis Baucum
Miles Von Ricketson
Casey Lamontagne
David Wilburn
Shane Kepler

IF you don’t already know of Red Wizard, I seriously recommend Un-Fucking that situation. Red WIzard lead the charge in Heavy Blues/Fuzz/Blues/Doom/Stoner Metal, and lay down the law when it comes to over-delivering on the goods at their shows.
Loud as hell, and committed as so few bands are to giving you their best every time, Red Wizard was given the coolest opportunity to play a super set due to another band bailing at the last minute. So, instead of a 45 minute set, we got almost 3 hours of pure fuzz fury.
Having heard most of their stuff from STB Records (Hi Steve!!!), I was well acquainted with their recording sounds. And it pales in comparison to live. Live is like using a hammer to swat flies. It’s in the bones and quivers the lining of your skull. The blues simply blows across you without a breeze, and refreshes the soul, especially when tey a) cover The Wizard by Black Sabbath and b) those mouth harps come out on their own and resonate into that primal brain. And they came out A LOT.
Another amazing portion of their set, which was random after they performed all the pre-set tunes, was when they took crowd requests, which the first was “let’s hear a jam!”, which is is a slight rudeness usually, and most bands will not due because they secretly suck at impromptu; but Red Wizard just went “okay!” and literally unleashed something never played, recorded, rehearsed, or heard before, and it sounded like they had perfected it already to lay down as a bonus track. No vocals, just everyone joining in organically, and creating something massive.
Red Wizard is a rarity, having played together for years/decades, and performing as many pieces of one. They had THE set of the Fest, and will always be one of the best bands I have ever been witness to in my short musical life.

Tidbit: Miles, guitarist, has a crushed fretting hand due to an amp accident from a previous show a week or so before hand, and it looked GNARLY. I would say possible fractures or breaks, but that’s my opinion, but regardless; looked extremely bad and he was in visible pain the entire time I was there.

Beginning the set, you could tell it was bothering him immensely, and they did start slow and probably not in the songs they had set forth, but by the end, he had pushed through and was riffing some of the sweetest grooves a mere mortal can conjure out of the aether.

It was mindblowing that a damaged hand could be so driven to create power and soul like that. More man than I could be in the situation.

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