Show Review: Windhand At The Broadberry, November 15th

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On a cold, blustery night in Richmond, Windhand returned to Richmond from a little over a month on the road to warm us with their enveloping fuzz. Wrapping up a tour promoting their excellent new album Eternal Return, the band performed a nice mix of material spanning their discography to an appreciative and sizable crowd.

Newcomers Omen Stones opened up the show with some lively, psyched-out and heavy rock ’n roll. Although the band itself is new, the individual members have already established themselves in Richmond’s heavy music scene; the band features Erik Larson of Alabama Thunderpussy and Backwoods Payback (formerly of Avail), Tommy Hamilton of Druglord and Sour Milk Sea, and Ed Fiero of Desert Altar. They kept it short and sweet, moving the somewhat early show along.

Next, Satan’s Satyrs brought their devilish brand of hard rock to the stage. Despite being stylistically dissimilar, Windhand and Satan’s Satyrs are clearly good friends, having released a split together earlier this year and having toured with each other for the past month or so. The Satyrs brought plenty of energy and swagger to the stage, contrasting the more fuzzed-out and psychedelic sets bookending theirs. The sound of Satan’s Satyrs is a bit hard to pin down, with guitars that veer between the harmonized fretwork of Iron Maiden, the stoner metal riffing of Fu Manchu, and the sleazy hard rock of Guns ’n Roses. Clayton Burgess’ singing mixes careening glam rock tonality and sneering punk delivery, perfectly fitting the band’s colorful blend of musical styles and lascivious lyrics. The band clearly has a lot of fun playing live, and one could almost imagine having been transported back to the ‘80s watching them, as they project the energy of a Sunset Strip band of that era — Drummer Stephen Fairfield sported a cutoff t-shirt and reflective aviators, and Burgess stood tall in the middle of the stage, rocking what appeared to be a leopard print top.

The band ran through an energetic set that largely focused on songs from their split with Windhand and their new album, The Lucky Ones, with plenty of charisma and showmanship, guitarists Jarrett Nettnin and Nate Towle fluidly trading leads and solos across the stage from each other as Fairfield and Burgess kept the songs thumping along. The Satyrs ended their set with a bang, and Windhand’s eclectic playlist came over the PA, preparing the audience for the much more measured and murky set ahead.

Led Zeppelin’s slow-burning “In The Light” set the mood perfectly as the last song in the playlist, spinning purple and white lights overhead presaging the arrival of Windhand. They took the stage calmly, guitarist Garrett Morris and bassist Parker Chandler being sure to give the crowd a healthy dose of amp feedback before launching into their set. Walls of warm, inviting fuzz washed over the crowd as they lunged through tracks from their split with Satan’s Satyrs and Eternal Return, drummer Ryan Wolfe commanding and resolute behind a gorgeous sparkling silver-wrapped Ludwig kit. A few songs in, singer Dorthia Cottrell remarked that she felt like a dead body, assumedly due to the tour the band was returning from. Cottrell maintained a graceful stage presence despite her exhaustion and seeming difficulty hearing her voice through her monitor. Her voice soared over the thick, muddy distortion and pounding drums, providing a beautiful melodic counterpart to the lambast on songs like the set’s centerpiece “Grey Garden” — by far the catchiest Windhand song to date. They followed that up with “Orchard” from 2013’s Soma and a few new songs, capping their set with “Cassock.”

The thankful crowd couldn’t let the band rest for long before summoning them back out for an encore of “Winter Sun,” from their first, self-titled record. Slowly fading feedback ushered the audience back into reality, many members of which flocked to the merch table, as the rest of us exited back into the appropriately dreary night.

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