THE OBSESSED - Wino Live in Philly!

May 24, 2016, 2 years ago

Mark Gromen

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Fresh from The Church Within being released on Columbia, last time I saw The Obsessed (February 13th, 1994), they were opening for White Zombie, on the latter's La Sexorcisto: Devil Music Volume One. It would be the final tour, for both acts, for decades. Have seen guitarist/singer Scott "Wino" Weinrich several times since, solo and in various band incarnations: Saint Vitus, Hidden Hand and Spirit Caravan, the outfit from which Wino recruited two former bandmates, to resurrect The Obsessed trio format and whose music they'd frequently cover tonight. While considered one of the godfathers of American doom/stoner rock, it's a misnomer that The Obsessed only play slow/heavy strung out riffs. A dynamic set, interspersed with plenty of speedy guitar, was on display at Kung Fu Necktie, the same venue Weinrich headlined, acoustically, in Jan '13. However, the Obsessed name must still have some punch, as the little club has rarely been so packed and on the night the band signed their new contract with Relapse Records, upstairs, before taking the stage!. Where were these people during the Columbia days? Many were not yet, or just barely born. Thankfully the ubiquitous billiards table, which dominates the bar/standing area, had been removed, 

No roadies to tune up, just the now gray-haired, always been well tattooed guitarist/singer stepping to the mic, plugging in and going off, as he's done countless nights before. Little in the way of crowd banter, although he did acknowledge that Philly is one of his favorite places to play. "Blind Lightning" opens, accent on well measured tunes, wah wah pedal and fuzz tones. People might call this doom, but the tunes are over quite quickly, often three minutes of less, as was the case with a speedy "Streamlined", which injects liveliness belying the supposed genre tag: the first moment of move in a set built around groove. When it comes to embellishment, Wino opts for Spirit Caravan material, like "Retroman" (sung by bassist Dave Sherman), sandwiched between Church Within nuggets "To Protect And To Serve" and "Streetside", with the classic lyric: "Does the Pope shit in the woods?" There's a punky vibe (albeit on reverb guitar), complete with cigarette and whiskey hoarse vocals on smoking newbie "Be The Night". The latter portion of the set drifts into older material (one each from the debut and Lunar Womb) as well as more Spirit Caravan material, including a jamming rendition of "Sea Legs" and "Sacred" which is rumored to be the title track from the forthcoming Relapse album. 

Great to have The Obsessed back in the game!

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