Wednesday, June 30

Fuzz from a small arsenal of Orange amplifiers emanated from the stage at Plush, much to the delight of the handful of serious rock fans. The crowd had assembled to see Dead Meadow, the shabby-chic kings of stoner metal; only the legalization of marijuana could have garnered more enthusiasm.

The trio plays a hybrid of traditional 1960s-inspired psych music fused with the heavy riffs of more contemporary doom-metal bands. While the band's sound is steeped in heavy riffage, the intricacies of Dead Meadow's songwriting set them apart from bands flogging the typical assemblage of minor chord progressions that often constitute more flimsy stoner-rock outfits. Their sound is a potent dose of heavy music when it is heard on record. Live, Dead Meadow shape their sets to create a sonic landscape. It is an arena in which a drum solo can actually make sense: It's not an anomaly set aside for the sake of ego, but an element of the performance that augments the peaks and valleys of their songwriting.

The band moves in and out of songs effortlessly. Guitarist Jason Simon incorporates a variety of guitar and vocal effects into the songs, creating a sonic journey that encourages the listener to traverse the tops of sun-drenched mountains and explore the depths of oceans.

The band is supporting a live album called Three Kings, which includes an accompanying live video performance interspersed with short films in the vein of Led Zeppelin's The Song Remains the Same. It is a big project—and it is apparent in their stage performances that the band does not do anything small.

The group played nearly two hours of songs as they ran through a repertoire spanning five studio albums. Wednesday was the next-to-last night of their latest three-month tour. Although they were playing to a small crowd, the road-worn band did not waver in their zeal. With the amps turned up loud, the songs resonated through the room.

Dead Meadow has toured for nearly 12 years under the radar of more casual rock fans. Their show at Plush proved that they are not going away. This particular Wednesday tested the limits of Plush's sound system—but no one in attendance was complaining.


More by Billups Allen


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