John Garcia Support: Komatsu & Steak at die Werkstadt Cologne 14.11.14

John Garcia. Support : Komatsu & Steak at Die Werkstadt This was one night I was quite looking forward to, any band that John Garcia fronts is always a pleasure to see, and this tour was announced as sort of career spanning, so only good things could come our way. 

We arrived a bit late, and unfortunately missed a bit of Komatsu’s set! What we did catch however has very much sparked my interest, and this is a band I will be looking into or rather listening to as of today! The last 3 songs of their set really got me going and made me very hopeful for the rest of the night. Here is a Dutch band that has a very powerful sound, and they should leave their mark in the world of music! I for one am looking forward to hearing more from them!

After a short break it was time for some Steak. I had seen them a few weeks ago at the Desertfest Antwerp, and was not convinced at that show as the sound was far from good. Die Werkstadt however has a better sound and that was all in favour of Steak. Solid groove, and by now the venue was relatively well packed, so the atmosphere was going up as well! Steak is not entirely my cup of tea, so I would have preferred to see Steak followed by Komatsu, but that is just my opinion.

Another break, a little smoke and some Rum & Coke, and the band for John Garcia, consisting of: Ehren Groban – Guitar (War Drum ), Mike Pygmie – Bass ( You Know Who ), Greg Saenz – Drums ( You Know Who, The Dwarves ) took the stage to start of the night with Caterpillar March, or rather their rendition thereof!  But close enough to the original to get the crowd going quite well!  The set list indicates that next was Rolling Stoned, but I am not entirely sure, as the night was so overwhelmingly good, I might have mixed the track order a bit in my head as well. In any case, by the time of the 2nd track the smoking ban, was heartily ignored and the air filled with some very sweet scents! In any case whether as 2nd or 3rd track Rolling Stoned kicked ass, and let everyone know that the new material flawlessly fits with the older tracks! One inch Man was warmly welcomed by the crowd as were most of the older tracks, which considering the quality of the new material is actually a bit of shame, as both are on par with each other, unfortunately the crowd was just more familiar with the older ones. What I really appreciated about the show is the fact that they did not play the Kyuss songs 100% as written, but rather, they played their renditions/versions of the songs which made the whole thing sound fresh, intense, and surprising!  A fresh take on classics can be risky, but this band just makes them sound so good there is nothing to worry about, at least as long as you have a bit of an open mind as a listener as well, and the crowd seemed to have just that, as the cheers kept on increasing, along with the dancing, with a nice little moshpit being the culmination thereof. Sure I have lived much harder and brutal moshpits at Kyuss shows, but this was just right for the night, not too hard, and not too soft! 

The setlist is posted below, so I won’t go into the show track by track, as all of them sounded just great, it is hard to pick out any favorites! John, was as always on top of his game, and sounded amazing! The overall sound of the show was very good as well! The house was packed, and the vibes were just perfect! Very notable is that we got to hear a new instrumental track right after 5000 miles, and the BLVD, which is very promising for future John Garcia releases, more on that a bit later. The only little bummer of the show was that they did not play Pilot the Dune, but if you look at the setlist you can still see a perfectly balanced mix of classics and new tunes! The show ended with a 2 song encore consisting of White Water and Green Machine, and although all throughout the show there was a lot of dancing and cheering, now there was as far as I can tell not a soul standing still! So all in all, one hell of a musical night!

Following the show there was a little meet and greet / signing session in the basement at the merch stand. My friends got a couple of Autographs, but I was too exhausted to stand in line so just observed the whole thing from the back of the room, until Ehren walked by, and my friend tapped him on the shoulder and we got into a bit of talk. We shared a smoke, with Ehren, and the rest of the band, while John was still busy greeting fans and taking pictures with them. Ehren was quite chatty so we ended up talking a bit about everything from the good sides of life, sharing a little story about Robby Krieger, to vocalists, and we both agreed that John Garcia is among the best there are out there! And for me he has proven just that, yet again, with a stellar performance, and I for one can’t wait to hear more and more of his/their music. It was very nice to talk to Ehren, and he actually gave away a few details of upcoming projects which at his request I won’t reveal here, but I can tell you this much, any John Garcia fan has a great time to look forward to!!! As we parted ways I gave a little gift to Ehren to pass along to John, who I felt had done so much hand shaking already that I did not want to bother him, and thanked them for the music!  On we went out into the night after yet another unforgettable evening of music, the healing force!