Summer Sizzler – the last one! July 22 and 23rd 2016 Brixton, London

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It is with a heavy heart, and light kidneys that I write a review of the last Summer Sizzler festival at the Brixton Windmill. I think it has to do with Gareth the promoter moving, or that the sludge fests have finally taken its toll on the fabric of Brixton!

So we have two days of British doom, stoner, desert blues and grinding sludge on offer, kicking off with Conjurer who spew forth their guttural and gutter-all filthy sludge. The vocals are intense, everything about them is intense, apart from the pauses in sound. No wait, they are intense too, like a split moment between the countdown reaches zero and the bomb goes off! Conjurer have just released their debut four tracker on Holy Roar Records. The CD is already sold out, but the vinyl is still available.

My Diablo, a two piece, are two thirds of Mother Corona, and this is their first gig! They are fun and work the crowd well, obviously knowing them for their previous output urging them to play some Mother Corona tunes. But watching them, they just looked like they were having a real good time! Sharing vocal duties between drummer and guitarist their passion oozed through their grunge psyche tunes. In the meantime, if you like your grunge dirty and of a stoner vibe that gets a good groove on, check Mother Corona and keep an eye on My Diablo.

Elephant Tree, including Pete Holland from Trippy Wicked, led his rather more psyche rock outfit promoting their self-titled second offering from Magnetic Eye Records touching on the orgasmic at times which isn’t a surprise when you think they appeared on the Electric Ladyland Hendrix tribute. And their sense of jollity knows no bounds (remember those Trippy ukulele cover versions) especially when they offer the closing song choice over to the public, I mean, general elections, X Factor, when will we learn?! – ‘do you want us to play a cover of Wild Thing, or the one we haven’t rehearsed yet…?’ – well it doesn’t take a genius to gauge the mob…. So they finish with an impromptu “Pictures of Matchstick Men” really only singing a few vague words but the riffs held true and strong, Parfitt and Rossi can retire!

Diesel King get a rapturous response, including my friend who gets excited by muscle car style approach to metal, but it doesn’t get my vote. But whatever it is they do, they accomplish it well as the crowd love it and their t-shirt sales are a sign of their success.

Gurt, Gareth, When Planet Collide and the Summer Sizzlers/Winter Warmers. First Brexit, now Gareth leaves us. Maybe I’m waxing lyrical, but as they say, the loud giveth and the loud taketh away. Gareth spoke a little of who they’ve had down at these bashes, and mostly his ulterior subterfuge of ‘book bands yourself so your own band can play!’. And they launch in to their set crossing a number of releases tracks from triumphant Horrendosaurus, plus EP tracks from DIYMCA plus the marvellously vitriolic Sophisticate.

A new day, a new doom, so I hear they say. And Nomad start the last lap of this Sizzler, and it really is a sizzler as the heatwave continues, so what better thing to do on a sunny Saturday than to frequent a dark bar for dark music. Nomad, the first of the ‘northern bands’ tonight are my new favourite band! A four-piece from Manchester not one Gallagher brother in sight! Nomad forge a balance between groove and grind. A theme of tonight when you see some of the other acts lined up. And I do think Nomad might be a new favourite band of mine!

I had seen Wizard Fight before and thought they were an excellent opening act. However, this time their set clashed with the barbeque and my previous experience is you gotta stake your claim quickly, so my stomach beat my ears, and I went for food. But I could still hear them and I still rate them as a fantastic sludge power trio. They take no prisoners leaving no ‘turn un-stoned’ in search of that killer heavy riff! I wanted to pick up a cd from their stall, but when I looked the cupboard was bare… maybe they had to head home.

Ten Foot Wizard, another Manchester band, but this one by the way of the Bayou took the next slot with their high kicking high energy dusty blues. They offer a light relief from the stoner sludge of the day, the dessert to the heavier main course if you will, sorry I am still thinking of food! They take the sound of Creedance and wring it through a modern filter, and front man Gary certainly commands your attention with his sense of fun and entertainment. Ten Foot Wizard are a party band and should be booked for your wedding, funeral or Bar Mitzfah – just remember they require a tall stage space!

The Bendal Interlude create a perfect storm, of blending horrendous sludge overtones with infectious groove laden riffage. But they do scare me as one of their songs is called ‘Buckfast for Breakfast’! The first of the Liverpool bands, and these guys aren’t the Fab Four. Bringing us back to the sludge fest but not losing that ability to rock out and the crowd love it! Reign of the Unblinking Eye was out earlier this year on Black Bow Records, and is well worth an exploration.

Iron Witch
Iron Witch
Iron Witch are the second Liverpudlian bands to make the pilgrimage south to see off the Sizzler. And I was cautious about seeing them again, as when I had seen them years ago, I wasn’t taken. But now, oh wow, whole new ball game. They play their new album A Harrowed Dawn in its entirety. Having released a number of 7”s and splits, they have really matured on this, their debut long player. A few changes in line up since seeing them last (it could well be three years ago or more) the five-piece blend elements of crust fury along with bowel shaking low bass rumble, heavy doom and sneering sludge. With the return to Earth of Tim Peake, we have a renewed focus on space exploration, but we won’t be needing dylithium crystals or hyper-space speed, no, all we will need is the twin guitars of Iron Witch’s Chris and Will. Jeeezus, the sounds they make, accompanied by the bass of Rick is an almighty rumble. Do check out this newly released album, on vinyl, cd and digital as it feels as a complete, whole album like a concept album of old.

Slabdragger should need no introduction here, another three piece purveyors of groovy doom, stoner fuzz and at times a spacey sound. I first saw them at Supersonic in Birmingham a handful of years ago. And have experienced their sound in the Windmill before, as it’s a snug venue you really get to feel their power standing at the front in the pit. And their spit vocals balancing out between coarse shouting and goblin garbling complementing equal parts stoner groove, cerebral sludge and apocalyptic power! If Iron Witch supply the engine power of this spaceship of mine, Slabdragger are the sound of the majestic hulking bulk of the ship as it slices through the void!

What a way for When Planets Collide to bow out from the Windmill. They will be sorely missed.

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