John Garcia & The Band Of Gold, Don Fernando, Dirty Pagans @ Lion Arts Factory, Adelaide 23/1/2020

In the various genres of music there are names that stand out like giants among men. Osbourne, Rotten, Tyler and Garcia. John Garcia is considered by many to be the godfather of the desert/stoner rock genre and tonight in Adelaide, he brings his Band Of Gold with him to town.

Opening tonight is one of Adelaide’s own pions to the stoner doom genre Dirty Pagans. With more than a gentle nod to Sabbath’s heavy riffs, the band put in an electric display with a set list of predominately new songs. With a new album ‘The Family’ out shortly, this show captures the growth the band have made from early sludge doom to a more multi-dimensional sound. Vocal duties are shared throughout the band, while the riffs are delivered with pace and cohesion to win many a casual observer over as they finish with doom-tastic The Man Who Killed The Gods.

Travelling with the headliner throughout the whole tour is Melbourne’s Don Fernando. Considering themselves an Australian version of ‘southern metal’, they look and play accordingly. The tone and groove is heavenly. Lots of bands attempt trying to be ‘southern’ and fail miserably however when it’s done well, it is as glorious and as close as you can get to purity in metal. Well, these guys do it extremely well, an absolute pleasure and blast to hear this music.

With a resume that includes the likes of Unida, Slo Burn and of course, Kyuss in your back catalogue, John Garcia can be considered the voice of the desert rock genre. Backed by a band that looks like wild west outlaws and plays just as dangerously, Garcia appears rather under stated but no less focused.

Before you take your first drag, Gardenia, Jim’s Whiskers and Conan Troutman have flown by showing Garcia is prepared to go in hard with Kyuss tracks as well deploy his own solo work. A man of few words Garcia is softly spoken, barley breaking out of a whisper before launching into his trademark singing style.

Chicken Delight is exactly that, a delight showing his solo work is just as important as his previous output. Garcia contorts on stage during the songs, downs drinks in one and continues to thank the hardy and appreciative Adelaide crowd out tonight.

A touch of Slo Burn is brought to proceedings however the run home is mostly made up of Kyuss classics such as Whitewater, Supa Scoopa And The Mighty Scoop before finishing with the Green Machine giving the crowd what they wanted to hear.

Garcia’s music is too fast to be stoner, not fast enough to be metal. It’s a reflection of the man himself; he likes to sing, he likes to rock, he likes to enjoy himself however he’s going to look and sound cool as he’s doing it. What else would you expect from the man?

Live Review Iain McCallum

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