Under A Thunderstorm: King Buffalo and Slomosa live at Hard Club, Porto
And here we are, back for another round of stoner rock injections straight to our cerebral cortex. A few days ago, we had the pleasure of seeing The Atomic Bitchwax and Yawning Man absolutely kill it on stage, and this time around, the honours fall upon the North American heavy psych power trio King Buffalo and the Norwegian desert rock quartet Slomosa, both returning to Portuguese stages after performing last year at SonicBlast. It was a full week of much-appreciated returns, as you can see. But the real kicker was the fact that it was all taking place on a Friday 13th, and as one would expect, heavy rains and thunder strikes could be intensely heard as we made our way to Hard Club, in Porto. Scary? Not at all, it was just an omen of what would later happen indoors, with all the riffage and whatnot. But before we officially kicked off another beautiful night of shows, we stopped by the Hard Club’s own restaurant, Mercado, for some delicious pizza, another great meal for another great desert trip, wouldn’t you say?
As we cleaned our greasy hands and faces, we made our way to the venue’s room where it would all take place that night, and weagerly awaited the arrival of Slomosa. As mentioned above, this wonderful stoner rock quartet comes straight from Norway, the least desert country in the world. Well, that’s according to them because we do think the lovely Norwegian fjords should count as deserts in their own way. That being said, Slomosa’s music is as warm as a blanket that has been in the sun for a few hours – extremely cosy and pleasant -, a decidedly stark contrast to the frigid landscapes they live in. This was the third time we were seeing Slomosa live and once again, they blew our minds completely. With their sophomore record currently in the baking oven, Slomosa played a couple of songs from said record, namely “Cabin Fever” and upcoming single “Rice”, retaining a heavier focus on their eponymous debut, from which they played songs such as “Estonia”, “In My Mind’s Desert”, “Kevin” and “Horses”. A great show filled with audience interactions and a lot of wide smiles.
Last time we saw King Buffalo, we felt the show was a bit damper than we had hoped for. Maybe we weren’t really in the mood at the time, but this time around, the story was much different. Perhaps some bands really do need an indoor space to have a great performance, and doing so in an open-air environment just muddies things a bit. Digressions aside, the power trio of vocalist and guitarist Sean McVay, bassist Dan Reynolds and drummer Scott Donaldson returned to Portugal to once again present Regenerator, their latest record that pushes the boundaries of the genre a little bit further and from which they played “Hours” and “Firmament”. Heavy psych sonorities, extensive guitar solos and vocals that penetrate and alter the mind are what could be heard all throughout their performance. Taking a moment to revisit their back catalogue, McVay asked the audience who had seen them perform live before and a multitude of hands were raised, as most present are also avid attendees of SonicBlast. And so, King Buffalo delved deep into songs such as “Grifter”, “Cerberus” and “Drinking From the River Rising”, much to the enjoyment of everyone present. All things said and done, this was the perfect way to end a rainy and thunderous week. More nights like this one, please.
Words by Filipe Silva
Photos by Alexandra Ramos