October 12, 2018
Photos by Bobby Cochran.
Those of us on the West Coast who also happen to be fans of Seattle proto-psych-stoner-drone metal ensemble Earth got a super special treat recently. The pioneering quartet decided to perform their groundbreaking and enthralling opus,“The Bees Made Honey In The Lion’s Skull,” in its entirety. With the lineup that played on the album, no less. The show at the Chapel was sold out, as was the show in Portland the night before. Their last performance of the run was at Desert Daze in southern California. It’s easy to imagine the live performance of this fantastic album settling in perfectly with the sights and sounds of the desert outside Joshua Tree.
Slow and trippy, textured and powerful, Earth create dreamy psych-rock at its best. Having been around since the early 90s, they’ve molded a unique sound that’s very different from their other Seattle brethren. Their first album, Earth 2: Special Low Frequency Version, was arguably the first drone metal album ever made, and the standard set that many other drone/sludge bands have followed ever since. They took a break from recording between ’97 and ’05, but came back with the brilliant album Hex; Or Printing in the Infernal Method, which saw a broadening of their sound while staying true to the slow and drone-y approach they pioneered.
Though there were times when an additional guitar player might have better represented the rich and varied guitar textures found on the album, the band sounded tight and delivered with guts and passion.
Opener Daniel Higgs has a musical pedigree that also stretches back a decade or two (or three), fronting a number of psychedelic folk groups and performing on his own. At this show, his only accompaniment was his banjo, reciting poetry rich in evocative pagan imagery, deep symbolic storytelling, and even a little humor. Accessible and profound, arcane and mundane, Daniel Higgs brought a bit of otherworldliness and set the stage for Earth in a perfect way.
Here’s a slideshow with more photos of Earth by Bobby Cochran:
Find out more about Earth here.
Check out Daniel Higgs on Bandcamp.