words by Parker Langvardt

"Stoked about @Thesword show tonight at a venue I've never been too. Reggies Rock Club. \m/" - Alan B. Nuzum


The first thing Killer Moon did when they stepped on stage was light incense and ask, "Are you ready to trip out to some psychedelic rock music?" What followed was only slightly psychedelic, but they could probably slap a "made by stoners, for stoners" sticker on their album. The first Killer Moon song began with distorted guitar run through delay effects, held together by grinding, blues-inspired bass lines and sparse-but-heavy drumming. The only audible lyric in most of their songs was the occasional "yeah!" from guitarist/vocalist Jesse Garza, drowned out by the guitar and bass sludge. Their third song, and new single, "Tunnel Vision" went through a series of styles that helped fulfill the "psychedelic" descriptor, beginning with Indian sounding hammer-ons and pull-offs, followed by a drone that led into a wah'ed out solo, and ending with a doom section highlighted by Electric Wizard-like vocals.

The blues rock trio Mount Carmel took the stage with the intent to make their "crappy" day better, and proceeded to play a heavy and funky southern rock jam, full of tasteful guitar trills and jazzy drum rolls, the latter of which continued throughout the performance. Three songs in their singer said, "We're going to play some blues for you," leading one audience member to validly ask, "Then what have you been doing?" and was answered with laid back Texas blues that contained few of the rock elements of the previous songs. The next song ventured back into blues-rock territory, sounding a lot like "Waiting for the Bus" by ZZ Top. The crowd was enthusiastic through the entire set, proving that sometimes there's nothing better than some good ole' blues.

The Sword began with "How Heavy This Axe," which is so heavy Paul Bunyan could use it to slice a sequoia in two. They followed with "Tres Brujas" from their new, Matt Bayles-produced album Warp Riders. Though Bayles managed to make J.D. Cronise's vocals stand out on the recording, he sounded about as muffled live as he did on the first two albums. A fair amount of songs were from their first album, Age of Winters, including "Barael's Blade," "The Horned Goddess," and "Freya." They split the set in two with a fun cover of "Cheap Sunglasses" by ZZ Top that fit The Sword's style, though it was lacking references to Norse mythology and science fiction. The riffs started to sound repetitive in the middle, and it was a bit disappointing that they didn't play "The Chronomancer I: Hubris," one of their best live songs. They made an excellent encore choice with "Iron Swan," the only song in the performance that features clean guitars, ending satisfyingly with a lone bass line.

Head below to view the band's setlist.

The Sword - Reggie's 7/20 Setlist:
How Heavy This Axe
Tres Brujas
Arrows In The Dark
Barael's Blade
The Horned Goddess
The Warp Riders
Cheap Sunglasses (ZZ Top cover)
Acheron/Unearthing the Orb
The Black River
(The Night The Sky Cried) Tears Of Fire
Winter's Wolves
Iron Swan