AMATEUR CONCERT PHOTOGRAPHY HOUR: High on Fire/Pallbearer/Lucifer @ Opera House, August 13, 2015

A couple years back, I did a list of reasons why I like Matt Pike on my blog. And while it didn’t top the list (I’m pretty sure Dopesmoker was numero uno), one thing that always impressed me was the type of talent he always brings on tour. This latest trip was no exception!

Mind you, I was a bit bummed out we missed Venomous Maximus, the latest in a long line of heavy bands to be banned from Canada for some arbitrary reason. Those dudes fuckin’ smoked at Days of the Doomed III, but alas, tonight twas not to be. Olde stepped in as a last-minute replacement, and hey, as long as we’ve got this type of talent in the local stoner/sludge scene, I’ll always have a reason to show up early.

I certainly wasn’t the only one in place by 8:30, mind you, as some semi-unknown occult rock band called Lucifer took the stage. I say that half sarcastically–this outfit features ex-Cathedral axeman Gaz Jennings and its debut just dropped on Rise Above. They’re very much in the Blood Ceremony/Jex Thoth mould–their singer’s almost a dead ringer for the latter. But what really sets ’em apart are the riffs, with Jennings channeling Carnival Bizarre throughout a largely satisfying set.

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Alas, Venomous Maximus wasn’t the CBSA’s only victim–it seems that Pallbearer’s bassist is also inadmissible to Canada. But rather than cancel their appearance, the band soldiered on as a trio. Truth be told, the rhythm guitar was tuned so low that it almost sounded like a bass, anyways…

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With his current choice of facial hair, Matt Pike looks a lot like Lemmy these days. And in some ways, it’s an apt comparison–just like Motorhead, you pretty much know what you’re going to get from a new High on Fire record, and you can usually start counting the days till they come to town. (They actually arrived early this year; HOF tends to tour in November, for some reason.) And hey, as long as he still has his health, his Les Paul and his top ten t-shirts, I can’t see Pike calling it quits anytime soon–though I’d be somewhat surprised if he’s still doing this in his 60s.

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Seahawks/Stamps/Flames/Zags/Jays/Raptors fan and lifelong metal head with a beer gut and a self-deprecating sense of humour. Reviewer/blogger (Yon Senior Doomsayer) for