Published Jul 18, 2011While it was hard to decipher the rest of the song titles, you could clearly make out "JAM" handwritten in large, bold letters on the set list that was lying at the feet of Sons of Otis's vocalist/guitarist Ken Baluke. While the youngish crowd who gathered at the Courthouse to check out Dark Castle and YOB might had not known of the legendary (and incredibly underrated) Toronto band, it really didn't matter, as the trio improvised an incredible Robert Johnson-esque psychedelic blues jam that made it extremely difficult for their fellow musicians to measure up to.
While Dark Castle's latest release, 2011's Surrender to All Life Beyond Form, is atmospheric and aided with various synths and effects, the Florida duo effortlessly replicated a large number of the tracks and performed them just as intensely, if not more so, as the album versions. Vocalist/guitarist Stevie Floyd made the the guitar and bass parts come across as if they were one, and her six-string seemed melded to her body as she swayed to drummer Rob Shaffer's tribal pounding.
After finishing his duties with Dark Castle, Shaffer had joined YOB to fill in for Travis Foster, who was unable to make the tour. Vocalist/guitarist Mike Scheidt told the crowd the band had only four rehearsals with Shaffer before they hit the road, but his playing was so precise that no one would have ever known the difference.
In between "Quantum Mystic" from 2005's The Unreal Never Lived and "Burning the Altar" from 2009's The Great Cessation, YOB previewed two songs from their upcoming album, Atma: "Prepare the Ground" and the title track. In comparison to their performances during 2011's SXSW, their set was more cohesive and relaxed, and they finished off the evening with a fan favourite, "Ball of Molten Lead," from 2004's The Illusion of Motion.
Despite Floyd having to run onstage and duct tape Aaron Rieseberg's guitar strap onto his bass -- while he was playing -- the set and the evening was seamless.