A longtime Madison stoner-metal institution shares the bill with a few other solid heavy local bands. Info/tix
What do you get when you put together a collection of relentlessly swinging hard-rock riffs tuned low enough to vibrate reinforced concrete with hilariously monomaniacal drug references and vocals that hiss like a snake trying to thrash its way out of a mongoose's mouth? Reports vary, but chances are it isn't the new Vampire Weekend. Bongzilla has been Madison's primary stoner-metal export since its foundation in 1995, and the formula was perfected on LP at some point in the early 2000's after a scattering of EPs and dedicated touring. Many point to 2002's Gateway as the best record the band has put out thus far, but guitarist/vocalist Michael "Muleboy" Makela is on record as preferring the earlier and grindingly heavy 12" EP Apogee. After a one-off show at Capital City Tattoo following 2005's Amerijuanican, an album crafted during a period of internal difficulty, Bongzilla unofficially broke up and remained inactive until 2015. Then the group reunited its the Gateway-era lineup (crucially featuring Makela's songwriting partner, bassist Cooter Brown) and began playing metal festivals, which helped expand their already substantial following.
Unsurprisingly, the group doesn't play in town very often these days. But when it does, the shows now tend to be extravaganzas, and this is no different. The band's using this appearance at the High Noon to introduce its own "Amerijuanican" beer, an IPA made by the Minneapolis brewery Fair State Brewing Cooperative. More importantly, the bill is also a stacked, and surprisingly subgenre-diverse, sampling of Madison metal. The awesomely energetic and enjoyable first-wave black metal stalwarts Tubal Cain will appear alongside the nastily feral blackened death metal of Ruin Dweller, and the notably slug-paced doom metal of the newer group Decarabia. Considering that the band could have picked any number of famous out-of-town metal bands to punch up the bill even further, Bongzilla should be commended for keeping the bill so specifically Madison-heavy. This promises to be a very fun and extremely loud performance, since the band's walls of Sunn and Green amplifiers are definitely not for show. Bring earplugs. —Mike Noto