Orange Goblin, The Skull and Mothership at Come and Take It Live, Austin, TX 9/1/2019

“We don’t care about politics, religion or race.  All we care about is Black Sabbath and Motorhead.” -Ben Ward

Yeah, that sounds about right.  Good time rock n’ roll in the name of Sabbath and Lemmy ruled the evening when Orange Goblin came rollicking into town Sunday night.  Ben Ward is just a whirling dervish of a frontman.  He took control of the stage from the moment he stepped upon it and commanded the up-to-that-point laid back Austin crowd into a good time frenzy.  Even if you are that dude who just stoically stands in one place and gives a slight head nod at the proceedings (I’m looking at myself), you felt the call to cut loose and really engage the infectious call of rock n’ roll.  I’ve had a few of these shows of late in which I really didn’t want them to end.  The show was just that engaging and fun.  It’s nice to have a band refresh one’s normally jaded outlook.

At the center position of the evening was a big reason why I came out to this show.  The Skull is the remnants of classic 80s doom band Trouble.  The Skull sports vocalist Eric Wagner, and bassist Ron Holzner from Trouble.  Presumably, guitarists Bruce Franklin and Rick Wartell are still carrying on with the Trouble moniker, but I can’t honestly remember them doing anything with the band in many years.  So, in my mind, The Skull is the current living embodiment of Trouble.  And that spiritual continuation of Trouble was evident in last year’s The Endless Road Turns Dark and the show they put on Sunday night.  Wagner is looking like a sage prophet as he has gotten older and, for a moment, when he first stepped on stage I thought Robert Plant was gracing us with his presence.  He’s not hitting the high notes as effortlessly as he once did, but overall his craggy siren vocals of doom is still recognizable.  Serious treat in that they rolled out a couple of classic Trouble tracks.

Opening the evening was Dallas based Mothership.  Mothership is a power trio in the vein of a heavy version of stoner metal.  It has been some time since I’ve seen these guys in person and there non-stop touring is really starting to pay off.  The band is as tight as I’ve seen them and there is a level of confidence that is taking their live performance up a notch.  Guitarist Kelly Juett continues to remind me of an Angus Young clone in his stage presence.  There’s no goose step and his sound is different, but there is just something mischievous about the look on his face that just brings forth the joy of performing that I see in Angus.  Plus, he likes shirts just as much as Matt Pike.

Orange Goblin-Sons of Salem

Orange Goblin-The Fog

The Skull-The Tempter (Trouble)

The Skull-Till the Sun Turns Black

Mothership