Ah, here we are at the amazing Sky Stage once again. Seeing how the venue has become such a spot over the past few years in Frederick has been so cool. As I walk in I’m greeted by some old friends…past issue of Subversive Zine. The remnants are a reminder of where all of this underground music and rad art really started to evolve again in my opinion. Subversive Zine met its end recently (RIP) but I think it still lives on every day as a small group of Frederick’s most passionate artists/musicians/fans try to pave the way for more non-bland art.
The Xiles – Loud, unforgiving and pure punk rock. Their original songs are solid and stem straight out of the classic late 70s sound. On stage singer Zephyr brings wild and unexpected chaos as he runs around and even into the audience while shouting his usually angry lyrics – his stage antics include biting on the microphone cord or using it to pretend to strangle himself – even breaking the mic stand which he had to pay for (he took home the remains as a souvenir.) Clay, Ty and Logan blend together in a mash of heavy distortion and sounds as they maintain the chaos of it all. The set ended on an emotional tune titled “Still Life” which was when Zephyr delivered heartfelt advice about feeling depressed: “Find someone and reach out because this life is worth living.”
Atomic Mosquitos – Theremin from Stephen Blickenstaff adds different pitches and an extraterrestrial depth to the rock solid surf blend from clean and spacious guitars with high pitched treble leads or twangy whammy bar action, dynamic bass and rolling drumming. The band has been together for 20 years now and are by far the best local niche band you’ll find… and the most fun. “This next song is called ”Delicious Strawberry Flavored Death”.. A band that’s insanely in sync and super cool.. Comedy ensues when drummer Craig Stang steps out from behind the drums to announce “50 years ago today was the premier of hee haw” or when he tosses drumsticks at Blickenstaff and other band members.
Voodoo Love Gods – Classic original punk rock that started in 1985. This music is as fresh and rocking as ever. Fun, raucous and experimental with it’s noise and artsy feels. Straightforward lyrics and singing that “doesn’t give a fuck”, noisy and cool retro guitar and bass tones and innovative and interesting drumbeats dominate the sound.This is a really special show… I first heard the love gods from one of my dad’s burned CDs of them (seeing them was surreal). They started with a song called “Atomic Fireball” that was beyond catchy and rad. Psychedelic lights were displayed on a vintage band name banner as a smoke machine ravaged through as the band began. The band kicked it into high gear the entire night – Singer Brian Sefsic was engaging and energetic with his frontman presence and energy as he did the staple spitting out water trick/dumped a water bottle on his head.The feeling in the venue was electric and magical.
Don Ramirez recording video resulting in artist Fat Pat flashing him with his signature pumpkin tattoos.
“Get that damn smoke going just like Black Sabbath.” – Brian Sefsic
Moments of sheer hilarity came from drummer Andrew Roff stopping dialogue in between songs to let everyone know he just farted or when he proclaimed “Bitch Girl” as a love song.
“Supermodel” was my favorite song of the evening.
The end of the show contained some special moments like organizer of the event Don Ramirez getting his voodoo beads and joining the band on stage.
Don’t forget to check out Exploring Frederick’s Underground as well as the the other Sky Stage shows they are putting on during the third Saturdays of the next two months. This great archival work is super important in preserving music in the Frederick scene. Help out by donating here: https://www.gofundme.com/frederick-underground-arts-archive