It’s been five years since Orange Goblin last toured the United States. Considering this “tour” only consists of six dates and that Dallas was one of the stops, it was no surprise that a full house turned up at Gas Monkey Bar n’ Grill for the Saturday night show. The tour in support of last years The Wolf Bites Back LP had issues before it began. Drummer Chris Turner was denied entry just days before the tour kicked off and his fill-in, Chad Walls, only had four days and one rehearsal to learn the set. But, the band remained determined to make the tour happen and give their U.S. fans a killer show.
Locals Wo Fat and Mothership got the evening kicked off in fine form. Each band got about a half hour to do their thing and made the most of their opportunity to give their fans what they want and win-over some new fans in the process. Both Wo Fat, with their psychedelic doom, and Mothership, with their “intergalatic heavy rock,” were perfect additions to the lineup. Their sounds fit in perfectly with those who gathered for Orange Goblin, yet are both unique enough to stand out on their own.
With two members from legendary doom metal pioneers Trouble, The Skull picks up where their predecessor left off. Vocalist Eric Wagner and bassist Ron Holzner lead the band alongside guitarist Lothar Keller (Sacred Dawn), drummer Brian Dixon (Cathedral) and guitarist Rob Wrong (Witch Mountain). While elements of Trouble linger, The Skull is a unique animal. Perhaps more straight-ahead and riff-centric, The Skull looks forward, not in the rear view. The band creates a huge sound that doesn’t rely on a single individual to shine through, but pulls on each of the musicians strengths to deliver a cohesive and massive presence. The bands set was flawless and put many in the crowd ready to see them again when they return with Corrosion of Conformity on October 1st (also with Mothership).
When Orange Goblin took the stage, the crowd was clearly ready to relish the rare opportunity to see the band. The set included 17 songs spanning nine albums, including a cover of Motorhead’s “No Class.” Drummer Chad Walls admirably filled in for Chris Turner. To think he only had one rehearsal and three previous gigs under his belt, you would’ve thought they had been playing together for years. The rest of the band was clearly thrilled to be out in front of the Dallas crowd. Singer Ben Ward is a giant man with a giant voice. His presence could’ve overshadowed his band, had they been lesser musicians. But, guitarist Joe Hoare and bassist Martyn Millard brought the noise in full force. Tracks like “The Fog,” “They Come Back (Harvest of Skulls),” and “Quincy the Pigboy” got huge reactions from the crowd. That said, everything they played delighted those in attendance. If you had the chance to be at this show, or made one of the other five dates of the tour, consider yourself lucky. It was an opportunity not to be missed.
– J. Kevin Lynch (words); Robb Miller (photos)