Traveling the country in a van and hitting 33 cities full force can’t be easy or fun all the time, unless you’re experienced West Virginia Rockers Karma To Burn! Their brand new, highly anticipated long player “Arch Stanton” (FABA Records) was released January 7th, the same day their tour kicked off at Ripper’s Rock House in Akron, Ohio. Portland was lucky enough to get hit with a visit on February 6th, with the group playing the intimate Hawthorne Theatre Lounge Stage. Joining Karma to Burn in their trek and providing direct support were Canadian Rockers, Sierra, and with the addition of local Portland doom riders Disenchanter, it’s safe to assume someone from the audience probably caught a riff before the night was over.
Disenchanter, a 3-piece local Portland band consisting of heavy tones laden with doomful tendencies derived from heavy classic and stoner Rock influences, opened the night’s set, even stringing an Urb favorite, “Green Queen” along with a special, personal shout-out from front-woman Sabine Stangenberg. Yes, I blushed. Fairly new to the music scene, and especially new to me, are Canadian riff-rockers Sierra, who blazed through their 45-minute set of alternative and blues rock, energizing the scene with their various electric rock mixes. Next up with a packed venue in waiting, were headlining instrumental Rockers Karma To Burn. Coming off the completion of their phenomenal new release “Arch Stanton,” the dudes seemed poised and ready for another night of Rock ‘N Roll, Portland-style.
When playing in small venues, in this case the Hawthorne Theatre’s Lounge, bands like Karma To Burn feed off the up close and personal energy generated almost instantly from tracks like 8, 19, 47, and 39. Frontman Will Mecum is an electric composer. A 6-string professional, he has an uncanny flick of the wrist that seems to feed his soul with every guitar note and riff dispersed. Joining frontman Mecum to finalize the current Karma To Burn lineup are Eric Clutter on bass, and Evan Devine driving the drums. Both seemed content and confident holding down the Karma machine, known by some as the best and truest form of Instrumental Stoner Rock available these days.
Dating all the way back to 1994, Karma to Burn started out as a 3-piece from the underground and they built from there, even trying to add a fourth member at one point. While three seems to be the magic number, Karma To Burn continues to tell their story through their music. Beyond warmed up and beginning to strike a Rip City pose, new tunes like 55, 54, 57 and 59 off recent release “Arch Stanton” felt as powerful and accomplished as ever. Not many bands can accommodate an instrumental sound while keeping everyone interested, but this is where Karma To Burn has been able to set themselves apart, with their infectious sound drawing you ever so true to their groove. If you put the band on the spot, they will tell you it’s just Rock ‘N Roll and that’s fine by their East Coast Mountaineer standards.
Closing the night out with tunes like 32, 59, and 20, it seemed the only thing left for me to hear is a big Rip City rip of 420! Don’t forget to pick up “Arch Stanton” and always support live music! Look for Karma To Burn on tour this summer and throughout 2015! Next time y’all stop in, don’t forget the Mountain Dew.
Check out my interview, below, with Karma To Burn, where we talk “Arch Stanton,” touring, WV weed, and Rock:
If you’re still with us, check out live footage of the Stonerific tune “47” from the Portland show, here.