The setup is simple: somewhere in the California Mojave Desert five Stoner rock bands perform life without audience. Live in the Mojave Desert is a collaboration between the Italian Heavy Psych Sounds Records and the recently founded Giant Rock Records. Earthless is headlining with a set of 79 minutes; Hence the double LP.
Imagine, after a wild night in Las Vegas, you got shitfaced or high as hell. You wake up somewhere in the middle of the desert. You stumble along wondering where you are with a screeching thirst. Until… suddenly in the distance… warm guitar sounds. After a few seconds you recognize the melody: the opening of Violence of the Red Sea (From the Ages, 2013) by Earthless slowly come to life in your parched brain. Only the band is playing. There is no audience, except a sound engineer and a cameraman (m/f). The music hits your brain and before you even realize it you move your head along with the psychedelic jams.
Earthless is a trio of which two members have been and still are playing in other bands. Guitarist Isiah Mitchell, for example, played in Nebula. They also recorded a live session for this project. He still plays in The Black Crowes and Golden Void. One of my favorite bands by the way. Drummer Mario Rubalcaba played in from Rocket from the Crypt and is currently slamming with amongst others hardcore legend Keith Morris in OFF !.
The second track on the album, Sonic Prayer, named after their 2005 debut album (2007 winner of The San Diego Hard Rock awards), the jams continue. Mario Rubalcaba’s drums give you the feeling that you are in the middle of a shamanic ritual. But before you can say hi to your dead grandmother, the fuzz pedals are pressed fiercely. Your dead grandmother doesn’t appear, but with your eyes closed it could be that Hendrix himself is pulling the strings.
The third and final track, Lost in the Sun (from Earthless’ debut Sonic Prayer), ticks around 39 minutes and is split into two parts for this vinyl version. Here Earthless shows once again that they are a real live band. In a word: Damn! The first half still sounds fairly calm, but halfway through the song all registers are opened. Great psychedelic guitar riffs are fired at you nonstop. It feels like the sandworm from Tremors is chasing the band members and they want to kill it with screeching wah wah riffs. Drummer Rubalcaba goes wild as well:
this shows how perfect the three are used playing together. I can almost smell the gentlemen’s sweat. (Un)fortunately, they find some peace at the end in the form of a musical cooldown. Then the concert is over and the desert is empty again… Still thirsty and with a peep left in your ears you look for the nearest bus stop with a grin on your face.