Friday, April 13, 2012

Black Tar Prophet, Bleeding Heart Blues, Clorange, and Ponykiller at The End

It was a dark and stormy night. I left early from a Passover feast, and was headed to this show at The End. As I was driving in the middle of the highway, a huge gust of wind attacked my car, and blew the hood up over my windshield! I couldn't see a thing! Somehow I was able to flick on the emergency lights, roll down my window and see if any cars were coming behind me, and pull of to the side of the road. I fished out a tiny tire iron from beneath my car's seats, whacked the hood latch until it came unstuck, and secured the hood until I was sure it wouldn't blow up again. Having successfully cheated death, I then proceeded to make it the rest of the way to the show without any further incident. And what a show it turned out to be!

First up was Black Tar Prophet.
Greg, the drummer was one of the few people that showed up to the Nashville HQ/Harpeth Garage show, so I was happy to return the favor by seeing him play. After hanging out and discussing the merits of Bongripper's different releases, the show began, and Black Tar Prophet went on stage. The guitar setup was a gorgeous freakish wall of assorted amp heads and cabs, including Kustom to Sunn cabs and heads. Their show was just one long song entitled "Note to Nod". An interesting beast, the sprawling song contained bits of drone, sludge, and doom metal. Fluid, groovy, loud, and plenty heavy. These guys rocked.

So great was their worship of the Riff that Mark sacrificed his guitar upon its altar.

The highlight of the show, at least for me, came at the very end of performance. Guitarist Mark, after a furiously twisting and turning the lowest string's tuning knob, began pressing his guitar against the tall Sunn cabinet. Suddenly, he began violently swinging his guitar violently and smashing it into the wall of speakers. Smash! Crunch! Crack! Pieces of it go flying. Mark knocks over the speakers, pulls out a cigarette, and walks off stage. Epic.

Video footage of the show!

Video courtesy of VintageQueen54 Videos!

Bandcamp shenanigans!

Next up was Bleeding Heart Blues.

These guys were interesting, but not in a "damn, this is really interesting" way, more of a "thats uh, hm, interesting" way. Reminiscent of Heart, but with quasi-Kyuss riffs. The girl singer caterwauled a bit. She had her moments, but overall I was not a huge fan. They could be pretty fun at some points, but they didn't ever really blow me away.

Third was Clorange.

This was my second time seeing Clorange. The first time, I was a little unsure of Carrie's smooth, soulful vocals' interplay with the doom metal guitar backing, but I think this time it really clicked for me. They play in a Traditional Doom metal style, but with more complicated riffs than I normally associate with traditional doom. I guess you could call them psychedelic female-fronted traditional doom metal? That's a mouthful. It's easier just to say that these guys are beautifully heavy. Carrie's vocals, as I mentioned above, were soaring and soothing, soulful and sincere. The riffs were heavy and the hooks were catchy. Just as good as the first time. Highly recommended.

Stream stream stream...

The last band of the night was Ponykiller.

Meeting cool people and even band members is one of my favorite parts about the little Nashville scene. Before any bands went on, I met some of the folks milling around, one of which was dead set on convincing me that Ponykiller wasn't metal. Singer/guitarist Collin Yeo, who I was lucky enough to meet before the show, confirmed this. I was immediately skeptical. Equine skulls adorn their shirts and album covers. They're on Phil Anselmo's label. Their name is Ponykiller for christ's sake. But lo and behold, when they took the stage and started to play, I was transformed into a believer.

I have in my notes "WTF". That seems to about cover it. This trio of NOLA guys are stylistically all over the place. The 5-string bass is fretless, the guitars go from crunchy to swirling to dreamy, and the vocals range from a few well-placed screams to emotional, even heartfelt clean singing. Singing! And this guy plays bass in Arson Anthem alongside Phil Anselmo, Mike Williams, and Hank Williams III! This man knows his music, and it comes through in his playing. Soft, loud, aggressive, tender, or a mix of all 4. If I had to label their style, I would call it "Post-post-metal". But thankfully I have to do no such thing, so I will not. If the dudes from Intronaut got together, decided to sing as seriously as While Heaven Wept, covered a few Spacemen 3 tunes, and then said "fuck all that, let's play whatever we want", it might sound vaguely similar to Ponykiller. But just barely: these guys defy explanation. All I can really say is to see them for yourself.

These guys really have to be seen live in order to get the full experience. Until you can, here's their bandcamp to tide you over!


  1. Thanks Court. Nice pic for the end of the set. Greg

  2. Video footage courtesy of (subscribe) (like it)
    They work hard at what they do. Thanks Wayne and Cathy!
    Their youtube channel has the whole show up. And show them some support on Facebook