High on Fire / The Fucking Champs / Kylesa
12 Galaxies
February 2, 2005

Review by Jake Thomas

I still can’t believe this was a Noise Pop show, and almost the only one I went to this year out of sheer disappointment of the line-ups. But this has to be one of the most untypical Noise Pop line-ups ever put together…and a damn good one at that.

I missed the first group but got there just before Kylesa was about to start, which was one of the main reasons I was there anyways. I’ve had and dug a couple of their CDs for a while (especially that split with Cream Abdul Babar), but every time they would play previously I would be otherwise engaged. So finally, I made it one of their shows, and it was well worth the fuss, and only further reinforces me kicking my own ass for missing those past shows. I’m unsure how to exactly describe these cats other than awesome – 3 vocal attack, part stoner and part classic metal…although they sound nothing alike, if you like Mastodon you might really dig these Georgians. Live was probably even better than their albums, which are pretty epic and great. It was a near-perfect way to start the night, and in all honesty, probably my favorite band on the bill when it was all done and said.

The Fuckin’ Champs were next – god knows how many times I’ve seen these guys and their proggyness, they used to play with Trans Am all the time back when I lived in Raleigh, it seemed like they were there at least once a month or something for quite an extended period of time. Well now instead of just playing with Trans Am, Phil from that band is the new extra-stringed guitarist for the trio. They sounded just as wankery as always, Phil stepped right in and kept things on par with my past experiences; only now there were some occasional vocals, and even a Thin Lizzy cover (of a song I didn’t recognize, but it sounded so so so Thin Lizzy that if it was an original Champs song they’re gonna be owing the Phil Lynott estate some cash for ripping him off). It was good, but not amazing – they’re one of those bands you really have to be into, and the club was getting so crowded that I kinda spaced out half-way through.

There would be no spacing out during High on Fire, because not only were the band sounding great, but there were so many dudes in that place jostling around and moving too and fro that you had to be on your toes at all times, some of these folks looked like the sort you did not want to mess with (I’m pretty sure it was all a put on for most of them, but I’m not looking to test those waters). But it all comes down to this – Joe Preston is in High on Fire; Joe Preston is awesome; Therefore, High on Fire is awesome. You can’t argue with logic, folks. I’m still waiting on PrestonFest, where all 657 of Joe Preston’s bands play on the same night. Anyways, where was I? Oh yeah, High on Fire show…they sounded great all around but I left before the end because the overwhelming dude-ageness of it all was a bit much, and even at over 6 feet tall I couldn’t see shit, and not being able to see makes shows drastically less interesting, especially if you aren’t drunk. I don’t know how all the tiny girls in this town I see at shows handle it. Maybe they are all drunk?

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