Stoner // Slomosa // Live Review // The Thelka // Bristol

On a beautiful sunny Bristol day, the sun is shining and the birds are singing, they don’t know what they’re in for. Tonight we gather at The Thelkat for the fathers of fuzz-rock, desert rock and stoner rock, the infamous Brandt Bjork, Nick Oliveri and Ryan Gut, aka Stöner. 

Born out of the frustration of the pandemic, time off the road and a need to get back to music Stöner was born. A live recording “Live From The Mojave Desert” landed and announced the band’s arrival on the scene, the boys were indeed back in town and ready to once again make their mark. 

Their debut studio album ’Stoners Rule’ followed and we now find ourselves in the fortunate position of a sophomore album “Totally” around the corner actually landing May 6th courtesy of Heavy Psych Sounds. And it is well worth waiting for, don’t take my word for it Nick Oliveri himself talks about it in our interview in Belfast when we grabbed him on route to dinner he kindly gave up his time to talk all things Stöner! 

But tonight we are in for a treat Norwegian band Slomosa is opening up for the guys on the European leg of the tour, this quartet is a hefty riffing machine. Tight grooves, bitching guitar work all make for an intriguing vibe and punishing sound in the room, thunderous drums and gnarly guitar work just carries throughout blowing the cobwebs off all who stand before them. Anyone who was in doubt that yes, today is a school day, but we’re here to rock!  Slomosa brings a cool melodic approach to their desert rock sound with cutting guitars piercing through the thunderous backline that reverberates through the floor. A killer start to the evening. 

Now it’s time for the daddies of desert rock, the forefathers of all thing fuzz to enlighten the Bristol crowd with their new thirsty offering, a quick changeover and it is time to rock! 

Stöner hit the stage and the crowd surges forward to catch a glimpse of these characters, these legends in the flesh, musical maestros who age shaped so many bands who have followed in their footsteps. Stöner may be a new iteration in the lives of Bjork and Oliveri but its roots are deeply engrained in their earlier work, their signature is written all over it. 

The droning groove that pulsates throughout the opening tracks, Brandt’s sturdy guitar playing and Ryan’s ruthless drum work just have to be admired. Like a freight train, they are unstoppable, a crushing wall of distortion envelopes the room and everyone in it can feel it in their bones. The guys waste no time as they get stuck right into the high energy face-melters that rattle the fillings in your teeth. 

After a lifetime on the road and as many hours jamming over the years, Oliveri and Bjork have fluid chemistry that is unbreakable, Gut’s work in the back is a thing of beauty as he holds it all together with fineness, Bjork and Oliveri’s vocals are absolutely on point as they deliver a seamless performance that reminds us why a lifetime dedicated to your craft is a life well-lived. A perfect example of this is the interweaving display on ‘Stand Down’. 

Check Out Our Interview With Nick & Ryan In Belfast:

If you think the music delivers at home through your speakers, live is where it’s at. The air moving in the room from the PA is powerful yet beautifully balanced as the trio weaves its way through a diverse and wide-ranging set of tracks from their debut album and forthcoming album “Totally” as well as a few surprises. Belfast appreciated every single moment and as expressed during our interview Oliveri loves Europe and its passion for live music. The crowd witnessed something pretty special here this evening, a glorious display by all involved, from Slomosa and of course Stöner who provided the cherry on top of tonight’s fuzz-laden cake. 

Photography: Emma Painter // Pacific Curd Photography