Yawningman has returned to RVA, and it’s an event for all who love psychedelia, stoner desert metal, and generally weird outsider shit. For years, all I could tell you about Yawningman was that on their last album, Kyuss had covered a song from their demo. The song was great, but I didn’t hear any actual Yawningman recordings or learn much of anything about them until their first official studio album, 2005’s Rock Formations, was released. That album showed that, while this sun-baked psychedelic ensemble had influenced quite a few bands from that CA/AZ desert-rock axis, their sound was entirely their own, an instrumentally-driven groove machine full of moments that stood alongside the best of bands from Blue Cheer to Jane’s Addiction in its ability to launch mental explorations of the solar system.
So yeah, the hype is real, this band really does deserve all the great things that have been said about them in the press over the years, and if you haven’t picked up on their 30-year history as yet, this Tuesday’s Strange Matter performance is a perfect jumping-on point. Tourmates We Are The Asteroid offer some similarly freaky psychedelic exploration, and feature former Butthole Surfers bassist Nathan Calhoun–just so you know what sort of pedigree they’re working with. Local openers Desert Altar get on that whole Kyuss stoner groove vibe, while fellow locals Zgomot bring punk influence, an improvisational flair, and a foundation in Romanian literature to the stage in an unpredictable fusion of fascinatingly disparate elements. Nothing about this show is predictable, other than the fact that you’re sure to enjoy it.