It was only a couple of days ago I found out High on Fire were playing a place in The Hague I had never heard off before. Immediately I had to think of a connection to Orange Sunshine, and my instinct turned out to be right - which is also good for a change. It started late. Orange Sunshine didn't go on until 22.45 or something but we knew that so we hadn't been waiting that long really. The few beers had been consumed when Orange Sunshine went on. There wasn't a stage to speak of, but they took place, at the head of the room, in front of the speakers, and started to test the backline. Orange Sunshine has been Holland's finest power trio in the classic sense for years, and they're getting better every show it seems. Drummer Guy Tavarez also handles vocal duties and he does that in an excellent, raw authentic way in the line of many great blues screamers before him. The bluesy bass lines work hyponotic and the guitar has this classic Randy Holden tone. They perform original work as well as a handful of covers. Yesterday they did Rock Me Baby at least and also Gimme Shelter, as well as some more classics. Now that I think of it, they could have played Hey Mama from Bo Diddley - would have fit. The sound was perfect, the place was packed, hot, sweaty and steamy and the beer tempo went up steep. Around midnight High on Fire hit the stage and started with their epic and hynnotic opening tune of which I can't recall the name right now. Just the fact that High on Fire were playing this fine punk rock squat and people were almost bumping into Pike felt great - it's how it's supposed to go. Needless to say Pike was grinning from ear to ear, slamming out the thunder of his nine stringer. They played for an hour and half or so, and played their best songs off every album. From the top of my head Baghdad, 10.000 Years, Blood From Zion, BBW, Devilution, Eyes and Teeth, Hung, Drawn and Quartere and a handful of songs from Death Is This Communion were all present.
It was a fine night with good beer and great people. I found out it was actually Guy's place where they played. It has a few halls where bands can play, a bar, a garden, just really nice. I think he has a studio in there, so overall a great place with a nice atmosphere and friendly people. It was also good to see High on Fire playing there on which was actually their day off, and it clearly showed they were very much into this which is good. I really like the band but I wasn't so enthustiastic about their latest album. Personally I prefer the first two albums over the other two, that style just fits me better, and I like George Rice's playing (I believe that's what their first bassist was named).
Also I'd like to give a little bit more attention to Orange Sunshine. They're one of Roadburn's house bands and have shared stages with a shit load of great bands over the years, most recently with Church of Misery and also with Earthless on their latest U.S. tour I believe, during which they also played SXSW. Back in the nineties Guy opened for the Melvins once with his band Sunwheel and got Buzzo's approcal afterwards, he told me some years ago. He was also one of the first guys who got those AmRep bands to play in Holland, was one of the key figures who started the whole acid techno scene in The Hague in the nineties, and has one of the finest Sunn amp collections you'll ever see! So in short, a true cult band and worth to check out, although there albums are nothing like their obsessed and insane live shows! Check them at http://www.myspace.com/orangesunshinerocks.