Celebrating all things rock, Fuzz Fest brought a diverse line-up of 33 bands who put on an incredible rock show for the fans.
Fuzz Fest entered its second year in fine fashion at the Blind Pig in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The festival is the creation of Chris Taylor with help from his friends Jeremy Wheeler (Bang! Media), Jef Porkins (bass for Scissor Now), and James Symons who put together their love of music and plenty of sweat to provide a showcase for gritty fuzzy indie rock from Michigan.
Fuzz Fest II got things rolling with Fred Thomas. Everything he needed was in a small suitcase in front of him. It was as if the gold radiating briefcase from Pulp Fiction came alive with the waking dreams of Pink Floyd. He did a short set, but it was memorable.
The Zen Banditos were a hard rocking groove machine of guitar, bass, and drums. Guitarist Andy Furda mentioned after the set that they had been the band behind Mike Hard. With Mike not doing many shows, they kept the band going. They cranked out some fine tunes. Seeing a full set would be a treat as they guys rock with a heavy soul.
Tapping into the indie punk vibe was the band Decisions. They played a quick set of tunes and got a good response from the crowd. They sort of reminded me of Dinosaur Jr. with a hint of Fugazi.
If you can imagine translating the writing of Allen Ginsberg and Ken Kesey into music, you would have the sounds created by Casino. Using various methods of percussion combined with clarinet, haunting vocals riffs, and Hendrix inspired guitar, the band crafted very original and unique music.
Minihorse had a great indie rock sound. The music was very approachable with catchy riffs and melodies. The band played with relaxed authority. The drum riffs easily bored into your brain.
Tony Iommi would have made the sign of the cross after one song from Wizard Union. The band is Fuzz Fest veterans and have upped their game with a much tighter set and an immense stoner groove. You can feel the Earth move when these guys jam.
Glowing in dream pop laced with a bit of Sonic Youth and The Smiths, 800beloved crafted lovely harmonies and captivating melodies. The drummer looked familiar and it turns out he was also the guitar/vocals for Minihorse. This is a solid band with a bright future.
The Howling Loud embrace indie rock with arms wide open. It is not very often that you hear a diamond plate mesa boogie swimming in reverb and bopping rock riffs. There were hints of the Von Blondies in their sound, but they make their own music.
The pace accelerated to breakneck speeds when Nightbringer hit the stage. They were fast, loud, and relentless. The band brought a ton of energy to the stage and spewed it all over the crowd. Go see this band if you enjoy hardcore punk played with rage.
Congress defines the essence of Fuzz Fest with an unbridled post-punk extravaganza. It was clear from the start that they love the music they play. This enthusiasm for music infected the crowd and cranked the emotional volume. Well played Congress, well-played.
A Thursday night (or was it Friday morning) would not be complete without tripping out on surf music. The Amino Acids take Dick Dale on an alien space quest. With the theremin wailing, the band played intense and amazingly good surf music with just a bit of a twisted edge. What a way to end the first day of Fuzz Fest II.
Friday fun-day got off to a gothic rock start with King Under Mountain. They play psychedelic rock with plenty of moody organs that reminded me of Iron Butterfly, Deep Purple, and Big Elf. While they harken back to times gone by they made the music fresh and original. The last tune sounded like a tribute to the composer Grieg and his composition â€œPeer Gyntâ€.
The two-piece known as Junglefowl know how to rock. It would be easy to call up references to the White Stripes, but they are more blues based with a Reignwolf level of intensity. They did a nice job of heating up the Blind Pig on a Friday evening.
Super Thing doled out some psychotic noise rock with gusto. These guys jammed hard. In fact, it was so powerful, that the guitar player ended up just have a couple of strings left toward the end of their set. The last tune had a huge humming groove.
Colorwheel was an unexpected treat. The band had a great blues-rock base with a sweet taste of southern soul. This is a perfect band for a summer evening with friends. They play satisfying rock music with a heart that takes you home.
Grooves swimming in an acid glow could be used to describe Buffalo Coven Party. With sounds that brought back the beauty of the Doors and mixed it up with The Doves, they got a rave review from the crowd at Fuzz Fest. Watch for this band to do lots of big things.
Americana rock with jams to spare is what you get with John Krautner. The band was warmly received by the full house at the Blind Pig. They played straight up rock that sounds good with a cold beer in hand.
BoneHawk is one of the best rock bands in Michigan. With a rock solid rhythm section and twin guitars, this band blows the doors off your 69 Camaro. They were a hit with the crowd which was no real surprise given their soul clenching hard rock that hits down to the bone. They broke out a new tune called â€œAuroraâ€ which was full of fantastic jams showcasing a band that hits on every cylinder.
Ponyshow simply kicked ass. They have a poppy groove that was catchy as hell. They had the Blind Pigâ€™s full attention as they ripped through a set of popping rock with a biting edge. The drummer is a monster on the kit and locked the band tight into every tune.
What do you do when you are following two stellar bands? You come out and play your ass off. Blue Snaggletooth used all the energy in the room, packed it into a bowl full of stoner mayhem, and let the riffs fly. They left nothing on the table as they put their hearts and souls into an anthem of all that is glorious about rock music.
Caveman Woodman & Bam Bam Moss put rock into a new Neanderthal genre. The Caveman attacks the mic and guitar with his furious might as Bam Bam lives up to his name beating the hell out of his tiny drum kit. It was seriously fun music draped in a leopard skin loin cloth.
Imagine the sound track to Naked Lunch by William Burroughs and you are close to what a performance by Wolf Eyes is like. It is madness in music. Ornett Coleman would be proud of the boys in Wolf Eyes. They embrace chaos and make it their own.
You could look at Saturday as the last day of Fuzz Fest II. However, it was yet another beginning of a night filled with outstanding rock that bleeds with raw fervor and acid flashbacks.
The evening began with Seritas who embrace all things Fuzz. Using a minimal approach of guitar and drums, they made use of heavy doses of baritone tunings and doomy riffs. They also include a couple of stellar covers with â€œGoing Downâ€ by Don Nix and â€œMisunderstandingâ€ by Genesis.
Beset by Creatures of the Deep unleashed a hypnotic set of music. While the first impulse is to think of Pink Floyd, time should be given to allow the originality of their music to seep in. The arrangements are thoughtful and exploratory with excellent dynamic shifts. A bonus was the excellent imagery they cast on the wall behind them as their music told tales of dying stars.
You would expect big things from a band named Imperial Sun Crusher and they delivered rock in all its beautiful radiance. Rock hard and tight as a clenched fist, this band went for the throat and held everyone tight. The riffs were relentless and inspiring. An unexpected twist was a cover of Dave Dudleyâ€™s outlaw country anthem â€œSix Days On The Roadâ€. This band is a must see when they head to your town.
There are rock bands, and then there is Whaler. Crafting songs that make you think of Clutch, Kyuss, and Orange Goblin, Whaler was unstoppable. They took no prisoners and the crowd at the Blind Pig ate it up. This band should be on everyoneâ€™s playlist as they play heavy hitting tunes, which resonate for days.
PING PoNG was fun and noisy. You have to love when a band plays flat-out punk rock with all its tangled and messy enthusiasm. Blow-up alien figures were dispersed to the crowd as they got the crowd into the show. This band is fun with a capitol â€œFâ€.
Les Claypool would have a smile a mile wide listening to Scissor Now. The music sounds easy, crazy and free. The kicker is that the timing and precision needed to pull this music off is phenomenal. This is a band of incredible musicians who hug Frank Zappa and burn with a fire that only Miles Davis could extinguish. They blew up the Blind Pig with a marvelous rendition of â€œDazed and Confusedâ€ by Led Zepplin. This was an outstanding performance.
The energy level rose as Human Skull rocked the Pig. They had elements of Social Distortion flowing as they picked up the crowd and showered them in music. This is music that makes you glad you are alive.
Lizerrd left nothing to chance as they exploded on the floor. Great guitars fueled a band that took the music to the audience. The lead singerâ€™s passion and energy pulled you into the performance and made this a show about everyone in attendance. The music spoke to your soul and set it on fire.
Wild Savages terrorized the stage at the Blind Pig. With the brilliance of Motorhead at its best without the pretense, this band rocked as hard as any band during the entire festival. The music is heavy with riffs that burrow into your head and wonâ€™t let you go. The beauty is that no one wanted it to stop. When you see this band heading to your town, clear your calendar and hear the furious roar of Wild Savages.
The guys in Bison Machine have been busy. They have been touring hard for with their new album Hoarfrost and they were set to unleash hell. Finely tuned and poised to dig deep, Bison Machine played with the heart of a lion. They rock with all the majesty of Sabbath and the fury of Kyuss. Burning incense only heightened the audacity of their performance.
You could not ask for a better ending to an incredible Fuzz Fest than the raw sonic inferno of Beast In The Field. This band has made its mark across the USA with the sheer intensity of their show coupled with the brilliance of unfathomable megawatts of sound. The mark of the Beast was carved into the flesh of Ann Arbor.
Rock music speaks to the non-conformist, the wild, and the unruly. It is rebellion and a cry of for freedom. It is the heart of America. It is the true spirit of those who speak their mind and love those who revel in good company and share the gift of music. Fuzz Fest embodies these principles and gives those who dare to attend, the joy of fire in their souls.
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King Under Mountain
Imperial Sun Crusher
The Overhead Army – Lighting