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High on Fire, Unearthly Trance & Natur played MHOW (pics)

words by Kim Kelly, photos by Markus Shaffer

High On Fire

Kim Kelly, no longer a Philadelphian, made the jump to the concrete jungle known as NYC in between her stints on tour with Zoroaster (check out her tour diary part 1 and part 2) and upcoming van-adventures. Welcome her to town, and check out this report she filed from the 7/27 High On Fire melee. -BBG

The Music Hall of Williamsburg is super close to Public Assembly, which is the only way I managed to find the damn place – you can’t play the “black t-shirt game” (i.e., follow someone with a band shirt or long hair to find a show) in Brooklyn, ’cause too many hipsters have embraced the longhair lifestyle. Regardless, it’s a cool (if labyrinthine) venue, and big enough to hold a packed crowd of High On Fire fans. Presented by Osiris & Bowery, tonight’s show kicked off with some old-school thrash, courtesy of brand-new but Fenriz-approved Brooklynites Natur. I honestly wasn’t expecting to like these guys at all, but was pleasantly surprised by their high energy vintage thrash attack (replete with epic NWOBHM-style vocals!). Dudes were having a killer time up there, and their enthusiasm was infectious judging by the madly thrashing hashers down the front.

Unearthly Trance brought things down several notches with their murderously heavy, bastardized doom (“God Is A Beast” was simply MASSIVE). They ran into some technical trouble midway through their set when a bass head went kaput (after intrepid photographer Markus Shaffer pointed out that the stage monitors were, uh, smoking), but luckily managed to borrow one from Natur. UT then plowed through the rest of their dark, angular, and menacing black/grind/death/doom compositions and unleashed some new material off of upcoming opus “V”(due out on Relapse on September 28th). Sounds like it’s gonna be a beast. Check out a new song at their myspace.

High On Fire came out with guns blazing, tearing into their crowd-tested, stoner-approved brand of Motorhead-meets-Melvins metallurgy. Indomitable frontman Matt Pike and the lads hauled out a fair share of chestnuts from earlier albums like “Devilution”, “Blood from Zion”, and “Hung Drawn & Quartered”, ending (pre-encore) with the title track from their new jam, Snakes For the Divine (full setlist below, though no “Blessed Black Wings.” What the fuck, dude?). Pike roamed the stage like a boozy, shirtless gypsy, flashing his trademark gap-toothed perma-grin and swinging his axe like the pro he is as the crowd hung on his every grizzled invocation. After ambling offstage for a couple minutes, the trio returned for a thunderous encore of “Bastard Samurai.” Even if you don’t listen to their albums, it’s impossible to deny the sheer power and sonic excess of a High On Fire show. They’re one hell of a fun live band, and nowadays that counts more than any number of record sales.

More pics from the show, with two of the setlists, are below…

Unearthly Trance

Natur

Natur

Natur

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Unearthly Trance

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Unearthly Trance

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High On Fire

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High On Fire

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High On Fire

High On Fire

Unearthly Trance

High On Fire

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High On Fire

High On Fire

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High On Fire

High On Fire

High On Fire

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High On Fire

High On Fire

Unearthly Trance

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