This time On The Road, we attended the first annual Doomed and Stoned Event in Chicago, IL, for three days of the very best in heavy metal! Featuring some of Chicagoland’s greatest bands, as well as other band features from across the country! This is a community-driven festival that aims to recognize local musicians, artisans, and merchants.
“In DOOM we trust. Praise the RIFF!”
Official site: http://www.chicagodoomedandstonedfestival.com/
I coincidentally arrived at Reggie’s at 4:20PM where I met with the crew out back to get everything settled in for the weekend. I was parked right under the train where there was a back alley covered in beautiful graffiti, and I could even see the Willis Tower (formerly known as the Sears Tower) in the distance. This was like a microcosm of everything you have ever heard or seen about Chicago. I then met with Lara, the promoter and the organizer of Doomed and Stoned Fest, who gave me my passes. She briefed me a bit on the event and where about everything was located.
Photo featuring: Lara McGlynn
Lara also mentioned that Shane, a Chicago promoter for Empire Productions, also helped her on the event. Doomed and Stoned Fest was birthed two years ago and existed as an annual event in Indianapolis, but was expanded to add the first Chicago event, making this experience a biannual rendezvous for metalheads everywhere. The event showcases 20 bands in three days as well as many artists, including Nick Gurly who designed the poster art for the even as well.
As I proceeded into the building, I could tell it was something made from what appeared to be a renovated old theater. I was able to meet with all of the employees at Reggie’s personally. They were all friendly, cooperative, and helpful. They really brought the show to life and made my experience at the event very enjoyable.
Day one of Doomed and Stoned Fest featured the following bands in this order starting at 7P.M
Pale Grey Lore
Pale Grey Lore showed up and immediately began to unload onto the stage having travelled all the way from Columbus, OH. They did their sound check and the festival began! Their performance was the perfect way to get the vibe of what Stoned and Doomed fest was going to be like. They were very engaging with the crowd and welcomed all the bands as they continued through their set list. After Pale Grey Lore was Shadow Witch, of Hudson Valley New York.
Prior to their performance, I was able to speak to the bass guitarist and vocalist Dave Pannullo. He told me all about how excited he was to be a part of the festival as we welcomed each other to the weekend ahead. Dave told me a bit about Shadow Witch stating that they were under the record label Salt Of The Earth; however, they are putting out a vinyl that was self -romoted under the label called Broomstick. He informed me about the albums of Shadow Witch including their first album Sunkiller, which came out in 2016, and their album, Disciples Of The Crow, which came out in 2017. Shadow Witch was inspired by bands such as Red Fang, Alice In Chains and Mastodon, and I could see that reflected in their performance.
While Shadow Witch was on stage, the venue really began to fill up. The other bands began to arrive and the festival started to kick into full swing. Next was Attalla, who had just pulled up and had to get right onto the stage. Codi laughed, “That’s how we like it. Just roll up, unpack and go straight from the highway!” Chicago appeared to really like Attalla and they made Wisconsin proud. They had a ton of energy in their performance and got the crowd super hyped. I was glad to see them once again for their performance is really strong. Being really familiar with our Wisconsin scene it was nice to see them bring our energy to the south as well.
I took a moment away from the stage to watch the merch table for Black Road’s lead vocalist Suzi Uzi while she recorded Attalla for a live stream on the internet. Suzi told me that Reggie’s was their home venue, and you could tell when they hit the stage that she truly felt in her comfort zone there.
Black Road hit hard and heavy representing the Chicago doom and stoner metal scene extremely well. They held everyone’s attention as they brought a stellar performance to Doomed and Stoned. At the end of the performance, Suzi humbly announced that their performance was dedicated to her father. All of us who know Suzi knew that he had recently passed away and it was very touching to see her love for him.
After Black Road was another dark,doomy band called Black Pyramid , who describe themselves as “Psychedelic War Metal”. They hail from western Massachusetts and made it very clear that they were NOT from Boston. I spoke with the two Andys: Andy B. and Andy K., who informed me that their latest album release was Black Pyramid II. The inspiration of Black Pyramid comes from many types of bands including 13th Floor Elevators, Neurosis, High On Fire, Black Sabbath, Black Flag and the occult in general.
The headliner, Inter Arma, was up next. Drummer T.J Childers told me that they were from Richmond, VA. They are with Relapse Records, releasing their most recent album Paradise Gallows which came out in 2016. Currently, Inter Arma is working on writing new music while touring. It was at this point that T.J asked me if I was a cop, which made me laugh because I realized I had forgotten to introduce myself. He described their sound as dirty, mystical, hillbilly metal, which I loved. He was a great guy with a lot of personality. He told me that their overall inspiration are acts like ZZ Top, Led Zepplin and classic rock over all. They owned the night, so it was no wonder they were the headlining act. This was a full force band that was definitely the stoner part of Doomed and Stoned Fest. To me, they were a band for big venues. They also have a European tour coming up!
Thus, the first day of Doomed and Stoned Fest was concluded. It was a great evening full of cool and dedicated fans, bands, and others who support the music scene. I was impressed with everything that had gone on so far, including the hard work that Lara had clearly put into putting everything together. The evening went without a hitch, and I couldn’t wait until day two.
After leaving my hotel room and picking up coffee and a crescent at Dunkin’ Donuts, I was off to get an early start to day two of the Doomed and Stoned Festival. I arrived at 2:30 PM, which was a bit before anything really began.
Day two acts of Doomed and Stoned Fest included:
When I returned to the venue, I met up with the members of the band Age Of Truth from Philadelphia. They are defined as garage-style stoner metal. I was unfortunately unable to attend for the third day of the event, which was the day they were to perform, but I did get to speak with them about their career, which lead to us being “event buddies” for the weekend. First I talked with their drummer, Scott Frassetto. I found out he was the newest member of the band and had only playing with them for seven months. Their latest LP is Threshold, which came out in 2017. Age Of Truth is in the process of a new album and he said that he feels this style is leaning more to a progressive style. Scott said they were invited by Lara to be a part of Doomed and Stoned Fest, and continued to tell me how the drive was smooth and they were planning on being there the entire weekend. I spent the majority of my time at the festival with the members of Age Of Truth thrashing to the other bands.
Thorr-Axe, from Bloomington, IN, kicked off day two and it was like the festival never stopped. As Of Wolves entered and it was as if they brought the pack with them and the whole venue was buzzing once again. Of Wolves guitarist and vocalist Steve took the time to speak with us. He told us about the album release for Evolved, and then on the fly decided to include us on an exclusive title announcement for their album release this September: Balance. A company they work with, Decibel, will be releasing a single and a video to go with this album. For Steve, the influence for Of Wolves is politically driven because he is angry and frustrated about having to raise his family in the world as is, and he said he finds it to be emotional therapy. They put on a great show and all of their fans filled the venue to the brim.
During the time that the band WAFT was up, I had left to take a break. I had just realized I hadn’t eaten all day and by this time it was 9PM. However, from what I had heard they really brought it, and kept they show rolling. To check them out, be sure to click the link we provided above.
The food at Reggie’s was spectacular, great service, great eats, and the atmosphere was amazing as well.
When I re-entered the venue, Brume from San Francisco, CA, had taken the stage. Jordan, the drummer, talked about how Rooster was their first L.P., and was engineered by Billy Anderson. He told me that Brume was heavily influenced by the bands Yob and High On Fire. They too talk up Doomed and Stoned Fest, talking about how good everyone was to them and so on. They were really full for a three-member band. The haunting quality of the female vocalist/bassist Susie stole the show. I have seen many female vocalists attempt to achieve this sound, but she really perfected the style. Her voice along with the rest of the talent of the band brought everything together so beautifully, it was a memorable moment for everyone at the festival.
Next was Huntsmen, one of Chicagoland’s very own. They released their last album in February of 2018, called American Scrap, under Prosthetic Records. They described their brand of doom as Americana metal, which is story telling. Bands that inspire them are Sleep and High On Fire.
I was able to sit with the band Sixes, which is featured in the video below. This band is sludge-doom with very heavy bass. They kept the pace of the festival with a heavy performance.
Lastly, there was the headliner for night two– The Skull.
I was able to spend time with guitarist Rob Wrong, who is not only in The Skull but was also in a band called Witch Mountain. He told us how he spent a lot of time flying between gigs with the two bands. He said he’s been very busy, which we found as no surprise. You could tell Chicago was the hometown of The Skull because they were surrounded by fans from the moment of the arrival. You can tell they are very loyal to their fans. Below is some live footage of their amazing performance.
Unfortunately, I was unable to attend day three, but I really wish I could have stayed. I watched the live feed from home and it had continued to be a success. This festival was extremely successful. There were no hassles for the fans or the bands and everyone was extremely down to earth. It felt something similar to a family reunion, but one where you got along with everyone who was there.
I want to give a special thank you to Tim and Suzi for inviting us down to cover the Doomed and Stoned event, as well as give special thanks to bands Attalla and Black Road. Thank you as well to the band Shadow Witch for being the biggest contributor to our giveaway, but of course thank you to all the other bands who contributed as well. Thank you especially to Lara once again for working endlessly to put the festival together as well as all the others who worked over that weekend and beyond it as well.
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Edited by- Cat Sullivan
Video/photo edits by- Emily Mae