Last night, Friday the 13th of May 2016, the old school local stoner band The Obsessed “reformed” at the Black Cat to kick off their comeback headlining tour. This isn’t the same line up of The Obsessed that performed at Maryland Deathfest XI in 2013, only Wino remains from that line up. In fact until recently this version of The Obsessed had been the latest incarnation of Spirit Caravan. Dave Sherman stuck around on bass and shared vocal duties in this version of The Obsessed (he had only played with Wino in Spirit Caravan before) however this was drummer Brian Costantino’s first show with the band under either name. The Obsessed might more aptly be called Spirit Obsessed or some other similar mash up as their set list consisted of both Spirit Caravan and The Obsessed classics.
The opener for the show is a personal favorite of mine, Karma To Burn. They’re from the hills of West Virginia and play a very catchy style of rock/metal somewhere between desert rock and stoner with a big helping of that mountain folk twang added. They are almost exclusively an instrumental band and their songs are simply titled numerically in the order they are written. I’ve seen them several times and despite line up changes they were as tight as ever with those catchy hooks and riffs that go up and down all night. They were a great band to start this show off.
Karma To Burn
The next band was Atomic Bitchwax, a more traditional stoner band from New Jersey. People seem to go crazy for this band but I’ve got to say they were my least favorite of the night. They had some cool riffs and grooves throughout but the bass was really muddy and the songwriting didn’t put all those cool parts together as well as some bands do. Stoner metal isn’t the hardest music in the world to play so songwriting ability really sets the top tier bands apart, unfortunately these guys just aren’t there. They weren’t terrible though, they definitely had some energy on stage, but by the time they were done I was ready for something else.
That something else came in the form of this new version of The Obsessed. I had seen Wino and Dave Sherman perform as Spirit Caravan at Hardywood Brewery in Richmond, Virginia back in October of 2015. While I had a great time at the show they played for two hours plus and by the end it was just too much Spirit Caravan for anyone but the most die hard of fans. However at the Black Cat the newly dubbed The Obsessed played a much tighter set with more cohesion. The mix of songs by both bands was a cool change up and the set was about 1 hour and 10 minutes or so, keeping it from going on too long.
Wino with The Obsessed
The Obsessed songs have a bit more energy than Spirit Caravan, some of the drum beats are almost punk rock in nature and many of the songs are upbeat. This makes sense considering The Obsessed was originally playing around the area during the rise of the DC punk scene. In fact it was Ian MacKaye that introduced Wino to the guys in Saint Vitus years ago. Anyways, The Obsessed played an excellent set that kept the audience hooked all night. I even got video footage of a brand new song, “Be The Night,” that Wino said would be on an upcoming album. Apparently the band has played this song as Spirit Caravan before but I guess it is one of The Obsessed’s songs now. I hadn’t planned on writing a review of this show but it was just too damn good to ignore. This was the start of a long tour for them, it was fitting that it kicked off here in DC. I left super pumped and I can’t wait to see them again.
I’ve posted a few videos below of The Obsessed (including the new song “Be The Night”) and at the end a photo of their set list.
The Obsessed – Be The Night
The Obsessed – Freedom
The Obsessed – Sacred (Spirit Caravan)
The Obsessed – Skybone
The Obsessed Set List 5-13-16