THE OBSESSED - Philly's Sacred Commune At The Church Within

October 28, 2017, a month ago

Mark Gromen

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Working their way home, towards their Baltimore/Maryland base, the next-to-last stop on the current tour leg was the Voltage Lounge, in Philadelphia. Guitarist/vocalist Scott "Wino" Weinrich (ex-St. Vitus/ex-Hidden Hand/ex-Spirit Caravan) acknowledged as much, saying, "We couldn't think of a better place to (end) it". Truly a career retrospective, opening with "Tombstone Highway", the lead track from the recently reissued, eponymous full-length debut and ending with a "Sodden Jackal" encore, which originally appeared on an 1983 (also eponymous) three song  EP. Throughout, Weinrich once again proved himself an American treasure, the hard living hero of underground music fans everywhere. Tonight, the brick enclosure was restricted to just the main/floor level (no balcony), reverb and echo at a premium. The bearded, silver haired icon was visible in the crowd, prior to taking the stage, throwing back Jameson and Bud. People (wrongly) think The Obsessed is slow and depressive, but there's definitely a groove and at times (see "Streamlined"), speedy aggression. In cut-off tee and faded denim, Wino stands, legs splayed and defiantly proclaimed, "We're not PC, and we don't give a fuck," prior to "Streetside", which features a distorted guitar solo and the classic lyric, "Does the Pope shit in the woods?"

There's nothing in the way of theatrics, just strap on instruments (Wino changing guitars throughout the night) and go! The entertainment factor comes from between song storytelling, infectious rhythms and his whiskey hoarse voice. At times, the mainman appears to be in a trance, laying his head back, face to the sky, as he jams, as is the case during thunderous, bottom heavy "Skybone". How can only three people make that much noise? Sonic booms create less waves. While a pair off Sacred (including the title track) were up early, most in attendance seemed to be there to hear the older material, although Weinrich singing a dictionary would probably still be cool, as long as it was backed with the Obsessed's booming, fuzz tone sound. The band returns to the road, the month of December. Especially if you've never witnessed any of Weinrich's various projects, get an early holiday gift and check out The Obsessed.

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