Earthless – Live At Roadburn (TeePee Records) Keith Boyd 9.25.8
Earthless has always been more of a live proposition than a studio project. That’s not to say that I haven’t thoroughly enjoyed their recorded efforts. They pack so much sonic information into those grooves that you come away vibrating and happy. It’s just that having seen the band live 3 or 4 times I know that in concert is where they explode. Therefore I suppose it’s only natural that TeePee would release this blistering set from the MEGAROCK distortion fest that is Holland’s Roadburn.
Although originally slated to play at a smaller venue a bunch of the usual Rock-n-Roll shenanigans ended with Earthless taking the mainstage and blowing them all away. Okay maybe a little hometown pride is seeping in here but Earthless are simply Monsters! How to even begin with describing their sound? It’s equal parts Hawkwind, Blue Cheer, ZZ Top, Pink Faeries and every Jap and Kraut Rock freak-out you can think of. In other words it’s just mind meltingly awesome! The three players have somehow melded their musical DNA and follow each other flawlessly. Each member contributes a mighty weight to the total. When guitarist Isaiah Mitchell hits and lick and bends the crap out of the knobs on his echoplex you can literally feel your head bend. Mike Eginton’s bass has gone from heavy to beyond super-heavy with powerful low-end cajones you can feel smack you right in the face. All of this is wonderful but the piece de resistance is the octopus on speed drumming of Mario Rubalcaba. Every time you see this guy’s name mentioned it includes his legendary pedigree. I’m going to buck that trend and say that in Earthless he has found his true calling. The dynamic precision and neck snapping fury with which he hits and guides the tempos of these tracks is a wonder unto itself. Now combine those elements and you have one of the hardest and most thoughtful hitting bands going these days.
The double CD is just awash in the sonic goodness available at every Earthless show. Although drawing from their albums for the set list I always get the feeling that there is an enormous amount of improv going on. It’s what separates this band from the herd of endless riff-based “Stoner Rock” bands. This Hendrixian ability to take the structure of a tune and then derange it into a 20 minute + opus is a remarkable feat. Do yourself a favor and check out ALL of this band’s output. I’d also HIGHLY recommend that you go get your face melted at one of their shows. Barring any of that though let me say this wonderful 2 disc embarrassment of riches should get stuck in permanent rotation in your player. Kudos to TeePee for recognizing (and supporting) greatness when it lights their ears on fire!