Winter’s Wake Winterview: Molasses Barge

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Hello again! Here’s the next Winter’s Wake “Winterview” — one more time I had a little chat with Justin Gizzi, this time about his heavy doom band Molasses Barge.

I did an interview with that band’s drummer Wayne Massey several months ago, which covered a bit of their history and lots of other interesting information (check it out here), but in today’s post, Justin fills us in on all the latest Barge happenings.

 
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VOS Interview: A Drummer Double Feature! Molasses Barge vs. Vulture!

Hello folks, and a happy Friday to you! Just when it felt like it would never happen, the weekend’s finally here. I’ve got a feeling this is going to be an especially good one, because there’s a ton of amazing shows and events happening! I’ll have more on that later, so stay tuned.

One of them in particular stands out, though — tomorrow night at the 31st Street Pub is the first date on the joint headlining tour between Relapse Records artists 16 and Tombs. That by itself is reason enough to get excited, but opening the show will be two of my absolute favorite local bands, the heavy doom armada that is Molasses Barge and Steel City sludgelords Vulture!

I’ve only seen Molasses Barge once before (and it was over a year ago! — read more about that here), and (believe it or not) although I’ve been listening to Vulture for a long time, I’ve never had the chance to see them play live yet! So needless to say, I’m really looking forward to this show. I’ve already got my tickets (they can be ordered here) but if you don’t, it’s just twelve bucks when you show up at the door. More info on the show itself can be found here.

Anyway, in anticipation of this event, I decided to get a couple of interviews lined up. If you’ve been reading my reviews for a while, you may have picked up on the fact that I often tend to focus on drumming while listening to music. It’s just the way I hear things, I guess — and I don’t know if it’s because I play drums (occasionally) or if I chose to play that instrument because it’s something I pay a lot of attention to.

In either case, the drumming in each of these bands’ genres is one of the main things that attracts me to those particular styles. So, it only seemed natural for me to talk to the two bands’ drummers. Here, then, are the questions and answers from Molasses Barge’s Wayne Massey and Vulture’s Kelly Gabany

 

 

 
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Upcoming Shows – Don’t Miss Molasses Barge!

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Pittsburgh’s own Molasses Barge is kind of a recent discovery for me.  I had become aware of them a while back by virtue of the fact that singer Brian ‘Butch’ Balich is also the frontman for the fucking awesome Pennsylvanian doom band Argus.  But, I hadn’t actually heard them until this August when I saw them open up for Pentagram.

In a clear case of truth-in-advertising, Molasses Barge sound just like how something with such a name should sound.  The main thing that struck me as I witnessed this sludgey beast in action was the setup drummer Wayne Massey was using.  He seemed to have all the drum and cymbal hardware adjusted to the lowest possible height, so that it was all barely above the level of his throne.  In this way, he constantly seemed to be hunched over the kit, throwing everything he had into a downward motion as he struck each beat.  While it seems this would take a lot out of a person – in fact, before the second song began, Massey had already cast aside the t-shirt he’d begun the set with, and also by this time he was looking as though he might have benefitted from a jug of water like the one Butch was constantly taking swigs from between sections of vocals – nevertheless the technique was very effective in laying down a thundrously driving rhythm underneath the rest of the band.

Guitarists Justin Gizzi and Ken Houser mainly hung off to their respective sides of the stage, out of the spotlight, but their combined crunchy riffs and melodic soloing built a substantial wall of noise that more than made their presence felt.  And Butch sort of bounced around the area between the two guitarists,with an imposing presence and also very impressive singing; meanwhile, occupying whatever real estate the vocalist had vacated at any given moment, Amy Bianco sort of meandered through the middle of it all, offering up basslines that similarly filled the empty sonic space between the others.

Of course, I can say all the words in the world describing the show these folks put on, but nothing would help you envision the experience as much as an actual video of the event.  Well fortunately, some kind soul recorded the show I saw, and then made it available on Youtube for all who had missed it.

Part One | Part Two

Anyway, now you pretty much know all you need to know, in order to know that you need to get out there and see this band live, as soon as possible!  And you are in luck, because over the next few weeks you’ll have not one, but TWO opportunities to do so – as long as you are fortunate enough to be within driving distance of the greater Pittsburgh area.  See below for descriptions and details for each of the upcoming shows.

Molasses Barge on Facebook

You might also be interested in:
Molasses Barge – Jewels (download)
Argus – Boldly Stride the Doomed (CD | download)

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