Friday, May 8, 2015


Vaz is one of those timeless bands. There's the frenzied pace, the taunting, chaotic guitars, and the occasional odd digression that challenges your feet to keep pace with your head. They're cassette-tape muddy and fanatically precise.

As an old dude, I look back at Hammerhead as one of the bands who steered me toward the lovely abyss of what bears the unfortunate moniker of "noise rock." If there's a musical space that I linger in more than others, it's here (in spite of the ambiguous name), and, to me, Hammerhead separated themselves from all the masculine bravado that is / was associated with the sound. They supplanted the narcissism with a pummeling, self-effacing sound that never allowed itself to be pigeon holed. Vaz, to all of our delight, carries this on. Although Vaz is a little less bombastic at times, their sound hearkens back to some nebulous past, reconstructs the present, and plods through the ashes toward the future. There's a wonderful bleakness to it all, where the lyrics and vocal harmonies duel with the onslaught of guitars and drums. Throw in some wonderful, tempo-challenging, experimentation, you're left with your chin on the floor.

To me, Vaz epitomizes everything I love about Total Fest. There's an obvious joy for what they do, a relentless DIY aesthetic, and a blistering sound that paces our collective paranoia. After a few decades of playing music, Vaz remains fresh and challenging. If you're on the fence about that, check out Pink Confetti on the link above. Blissfully dark. We're lucky to have them help light the pyre this year. 

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