I started this Sunday morning in Oakland earlier than I would have liked, but it had its compensations. Grabbing coffee and my smokes, I sat for nearly an hour along the Oakland waterfront enjoying the peacefulness of it, with no one else around except a hopeful seagull and a swooping flock of starlings.
Yesterday was not peaceful, but it was electrifying. It was the second day of this year’s edition of California Deathfest. Between a late lunch, a dinner break, and my inability to physically make it to the bitter end, I only caught about two-thirds of the 12 bands on the line-up. And as was true of yesterday’s write-up on Day One, I’m not going to take the time to write reviews of the performances. Instead, here’s what I’ve done:
I’ve embedded videos of songs by six bands that I took with my iPhone and uploaded to YouTube. The bands, in order of appearance, are Our Place of Worship Is Silence (Los Angeles), Spectral Voice (Denver), Perdition Temple (Tampa), Birdflesh (Sweden), The Ruins of Beverast (Germany), and Razor (Canada). I thought these sets ranged from “a hell of a lot of fun” to “absolutely stunning”.
I think the quality of the videos is surprisingly good, given the limits of the device I was using. I was able to nail down a spot at stage left, about 5 inches from a PA speaker (I’m pretty fuckin’ deaf already), which allowed an unobstructed view of the stage, and although I didn’t get quite the balanced mix of sound that might have been available elsewhere, it’s not bad. I wasn’t able to get a good place for videos of other bands, which is why I’ve only got these six.
I’m also including photos I took of five of those same six bands, plus one more (Violation Wound, which includes Autopsy’s Chris Reifert as vocalist/guitarist).
A few notes:
The videos below include the first songs of the sets by all of the bands. I wanted to get that done and then enjoy everything that followed. But in the case of Our Place of Worship Is Silence, I also filmed the last song, because for that one, the band’s drummer (Tim) and their new vocalist (Charlie Mumma) switched roles (and it was still a tornado of sound).
I should also mention that the luggage and guitar of Birdflesh’s guitarist never made it to Oakland from a connecting airport in Germany, which is why he lacks a stage costume and was playing with a guitar borrowed from Nuclear Assault, and that explains why the video includes a break for additional guitar tuning.
Finally, shortly before the festival began, the CDF organizers changed the order of the last three bands appearing on Saturday night, moving Razor up for an earlier start than had originally been publicized. Based on comments from the stage, Razor didn’t get the word. And on top of that, something went wrong with Dave Carlo’s guitar during sound check, so he had to borrow one, which lacked a whammy bar. All of that led to a very long delay between the end of The Ruins of Beverast set and the beginning of Razor’s set — but Razor was still a hell of a lot of fun. The crowd was enormous — and berserk. I got mashed into that PA speaker so that it and I became one. And that proved to be the end of my tenure up at the stage.
Hope you enjoy all this shit down below.
OUR PLACE OF WORSHIP IS SILENCE
THE RUINS OF BEVERAST