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John Garcia Live in Vegas (11/29/2018)

Every now and then, you get that feeling that you are meant to travel to a specific location or event. This has only happened to me a few times in my life. But I knew that I was meant to travel to Vegas to see John Garcia live at the Vinyl. He was performing there as part of the three-day Planet Desert Rock.
1John Garcia
John Garcia


Who is John Garcia you ask? Why, the lead singer of the former band Kyuss of course. Also, the lead singer of lesser-known bands including Slo-Burn, Unida, Hermano, and Vista Chino. Also a collaborator on several other records of note, including those from The Crystal Method, Arsenal, Karma to Burn, Zun, and Mondo Generator, amongst others.
2Kyuss
Welcome to Sky Valley


How did I come to know about Kyuss/John Garcia you ask? Simple, the band Tool. Back in the mid 1990’s, Tool invited the bassist from Kyuss, Scott Reeder, on-stage and performed the Kyuss song Demon Cleaner. Which is my favorite Kyuss song, by the way. Heard this cover and proceeded to download Kyuss’ Welcome to Sky Valley on Napster. Although I burned it to CD, I never listened to it until around 15 or so years later, in Fall of 2014. Was digging though (and throwing away) some old burns when I saw the Kyuss – Welcome to Sky Valley burn. And for those in the know, this was the three-track version. Took a listen and changed my life forever. Rapidly binge purchased all of the Kyuss albums, as well as everything else John Garcia had done in the span of 6 months or so. Even purchased Kyuss’s Welcome to Sky Valley, the album obtained off Napster.
3Rob Zombie
Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor


Stayed at the Hard Rock Casino, so all I had to do was walk (or crawl) down to the concert in Vinyl. The Casino was full of historical rock memorabilia. Really dug Claudio Sanchez' guitar, Rob Zombie's jacket in the “We're an American Band” video, and the Rev's (R.I.P.) drum set.
4Tool
10,000 Days


On to the Concert. The day of the John Garcia concert, I ate at the Buffet at Aria (absolutely awesome), visited the Luxor (amazing), and checked out the Zia Records store (scored a few good used CDs and a Stephen King book of short stories). Finally, the time came. Put on my favorite band T-shirt (Tool of course) and headed down to the Vinyl.
5Kyuss
Blues for the Red Sun


One thing was apparent immediately. The people who were waiting in line to enter the Vinyl were not your routine fans. Some were friends of John Garcia’s various band members. Others were people who had traveled from quite afar for this event (including myself). Met one gentleman from Indianapolis who flew in for the show, had named his son Kyuss, and sported a lone Kyuss tattoo on his arm. Met two couples, one from Alberta, Canada and the other from Vegas, who were also both die-hard Kyuss fans. The attendees at the Show did not feel like typical concert goers, more like an extended family. Further, the members of the band were highly sociable with the crowd, knowing and speaking with many present.
6Death in Pretty Wrapping
Death in Pretty Wrapping


The opening bands were great. Death in Pretty Wrapping kicked things off to a great start. They played a scalding set, in the vein of House of Broken Promises. The crowd really got moving when they played an energetic cover of Michael Jackson's “Beat It”. Got to meet both the lead singer and bassist of Death in Pretty Wrapping, as they were selling merch, and both were cool. Ended up buying their new EP.
7Nick Oliveri
Death Acoustic


Nick Oliveri, the former bassist for Kyuss and singer/bassist for QOTSA, came up next. He played a full acoustic set. Although a bit too intense for acoustic, his set was one of the most unique sets that I have ever seen. His rendition of AutoPilot (a QOTSA song that he wrote) was incredible.
8Mondo Generator
Dead Planet


I did not get a chance to meet Nick, although he was walking frequently through the crowd, but wanted to tell him that QOTSA fairly sucks without him. ...And that I dig some Mondo Generator! Ended up buying the most recent Mondo Generator CD.
9Luna Sol
Blood Moon


Next followed Luna Sol, hailing from Denver, CO. Being a fan of Supafuzz and Asylum on the Hill, this was a great show. A great set as well, as they played songs from both their existing album (Blood Moon) and from their pending new album. Also, the duets between Dave Angstrom, the lead singer/guitarist, and the bassist Shannon Fahnestock were awesome. If only they could have had John Garcia sing with them on December.
10John Garcia
The Coyote Who Spoke in Tongues


Finally the time came. John Garcia’s Band of Gold mounted the stage from stage left. Funny, the bassist (Mike Pygmie) was a guy who had been in the crowd watching the openers in earnest. Thought that dude looked familiar. I had also seen the guitarist, Ehren Groban arrive a bit late with this guitar. Even John’s wife was in the front row, headbanging and grooving to the music. John pointed her out and indicated that this was a rarity (as John primarily tours in Europe and abroad). One could tell that it meant a lot to have her there.
11John Garcia
John Garcia and the Band of Gold


The Band of Gold opened the set with an awesome instrumental, Space Vato, off the new album. Finally, up came John Garcia to the stage. For those fans of Kyuss, this is not exactly the same John Garcia as in the past. The long hair is no more, replaced with short-to medium length hair. Any former camo pants are replaced with a slicker looking get-up. But his groove is still strong. And his voice is just as powerful as it ever was (I have seen some former bootlegs of Kyuss shows, come on now). Although not one to talk much during shows, John was quite vocal. John sincerely thanked several in the crowd, including Chris Goss (the famed Kyuss Producer who also produced the upcoming John Garcia and Band of Gold cd) and the developer of the Dessert Fest. He stressed that his show schedule has to work with his Family life, as well as the family life of the Band of Gold as well. John indicated at 11:00 pm that he was usually in bed by this time, along with his son.
12John Garcia
John Garcia and the Band of Gold


In brief, John Garcia and the Band of Gold destroyed. The played several new songs off the new Album, including Chicken Delight (which is awesome), Mr. Whiskers, My Everything, and Popcorn (Catch Me If You Can). Also played Kentucky II (Give me 250mL done electric) and Cheyletiella (Kylie done electric).
13Hermano
Dare I Say...


They played Cowboys Suck by Hermano (with Dave Angstrom on guitar) – headbanged so hard to this song that my neck was sore.
14Slo Burn
Amusing The Amazing


They played July by Slo-Burn (with Chris Hale on guitar). John stated that Chris Hale (of Slo Burn) was a good friend since his 20’s.
15Unida
Coping With The Urban Coyote


They played Thorn (with Arthur Seay on guitar), an early Unida song.
16Kyuss
...And the Circus Leaves Town


They kicked off the night with Gardenia (if I recall right), and played other classics such as Supa Scoopa and Mighty Scoop and Tangy Zizzle during the set. John stated that the music business had several negatives, but that the comradery and people he has worked with are a huge positive.
17Kyuss
Muchas Gracias: The Best of Kyuss


They finished their set with a slew of Kyuss classics (with Nick Oliveri playing bass). Of Nick, John stated that he was the most crazy person he knew, but also had the greatest heart of those he knew. This mini-set started with John Garcia stepping off-stage for Nick Oliveri and the Band of Gold to perform the song Molten Universe. Next classic songs included El Rodeo, Green Machine, and Thumb. The concert ended with Whitewater. The closing Kyuss set was beyond words, and reached pinnacles of band interplay that I only thought reachable by a band like Tool. This was especially apparent on the drum work by Greg Saenz on Whitewater. Gave Danny Carey a run for his money.
18John Garcia
John Garcia


Was this the most aural or best visual show I ever saw. No it was not. That would probably be Tool. Was it the most energetic show I have ever seen. Also no, that would probably be Snot. Was it the most heartfelt and sincere show that I have ever seen. Yes it was…it was almost spiritual to see. First, the show was quite D.I.Y., with several of the band members setting up their own equipment before playing. Secondly, it was apparent that this was a true gift from John Garcia. An intentional attempt to share the stage with several former band members, thank those responsible for his success (e.g., Chris Goss), and give all he had to his US fans/the audience. There was no encore. Would it have been great to hear more songs (e.g., My Mind), surely. But John certainly gave all he had up there.
19Vista Chino
Peace


I left feeling that I had seen a once-in-a-lifetime show. A show, in many ways, beyond words and description. It put a tear in my eye seeing the interactions between former Band members and John. Especially when Dave Angstrom and John were singing Cowboys Suck in the same mic, and Dave gave him a wee peck on the cheek. Or seeing John Garcia and Nick Oliveri playing Kyuss songs together. People can say what they want about how integral Josh Homme was to Kyuss, but I saw the true heart of Kyuss on stage in John and Nick (minus Brant Bjork). Where Josh Homme has ventured farther and farther away from the desert sound that Kyuss helped invent, to his own detriment in my opinion, John Garcia (and Brant Bjork as well) has kept the dessert rock candle burning for all to see. Including myself, who unfortunately totally missed the Kyuss bandwagon and this entire scene back in the 1990’s.
20Nine Inch Nails
Bad Witch


I stayed in Vegas one more night to see the Nine Inch Nails (NIN) show at The Joint. Was NIN great, yes. Was the production, sound quality, visuals, etc. top notch. Indeed. Everything was run precisely according to a set timeframe. NIN was on at 9:15 and off at 11:00 (as communicated to me prior to the show by The Joint staff), including an encore. But for several reasons it felt so lacking… What was it missing? There was humanity in John Garcia’s D.I.Y. approach the night before, with the majority of the bandmates setting up their own gear (or running off one set of gear). NIN was cold and calculating, perfect -sounding with no flaws or mistakes. John Garcia’s show had moments where all did not go as planned (e.g., instrument issues) and they worked through it. Also, NIN included a three-song tribute to David Bowie, which about put me to sleep. As great as Trent Reznor is, and he is great, John Garcia ruled these two shows.
21John Garcia
The Coyote Who Spoke in Tongues


My only regrets. First off, I did not get to personally thank John Garcia. It would have been great to thank John for: the great show he put on on-stage, providing this show for his US audience, and his music in general. My second regret is that the Vinyl was not full. It saddens me that more could not (or selected not to) experience this evening. Don’t get me wrong, the audience there was quality. But when you see such a once-in-a-lifetime event, you wish that there had been more to share it with. When I viewed John Garcia on-stage, and I could see him well as I was in the audience right in front of him, I felt that he felt the same.
22John Garcia
John Garcia and the Band of Gold


Many thanks to John Garcia, his current and former bandmates, and opening acts that made this show incredible. Won’t ever forget it.
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