Josh Landau sees the success of the Shrine as directly proportional to the length of its members’ beards.
Since summer, they’ve all been rocking mustaches.
“Things really got going when we cut our beards off,” says Landau, during a phone conversation in advance of the Venice riff-rockers’ spot early Saturday, Oct. 22, at the Aftershock festival in Sacramento.
This is the fifth year for the two-day metal fest and it’s pulled together a massive lineup of metal heavy hitters that is totally worth the three-hour drive. On Saturday alone, you can see two of the big four thrash metal bands – Anthrax and Slayer – plus Deafheaven, Pretty Reckless, Primus and Tool. The following day features Avenge Sevenfold, Korn, Disturbed and Maynard Keenan’s other band Puscifer.
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Still, the Shrine may be one of the festival’s must-sees. I’d also add the Austin, Texas band American Sharks, but I digress.
The trio – which includes Courland Murphy on bass and Jeff Murray on drums – has made a habit of these monster festivals. They played Hellfest in France, the Download Festival in England and, in September, the Ozzfest Meets Knotfest, alongside Black Sabbath, Disturbed, Megadeth and Opeth.
They were one of the six best bands of the festival, according to OC Weekly. The band’s set ranked third, somewhere between Slipknot and Black Sabbath, and “had all the charm that comes with a seasoned unmitigated rock band, stage dives, crowd surfing while shredding ripping guitar solos, the works.”
Locals may remember the Shrine opening for Dinosaur Jr. at Fulton 55 in 2013. The trio fired off a blistering set that I described at the time as “what it must have been like seeing early Ted Nugent, in terms of the raw furiosity.” Landau’s guitar playing was particularly impressive that night. It was “all runs and solos and feedback squeal,” I wrote.
The band is part of a revival of heavy, psychedelic stoner rock that was pioneered in the 1990s by bands such as Kyuss and Sleep – and represented locally by bands like Slow Season and Beastmaker.
While others in the genre draw more direct inspiration from the likes of Sabbath, the Shrine pulls its roots from punk and skate cultures, too. One of the band’s earliest supporters was Black Flag bassist Chuck Dukowski. Among its the CDs and vinyl on its merch table, you’ll find skate decks and skate shoes.
Skateboarding is the key to the universe, Landau says.
He might not remember the club he played in Fresno, but he remembers where he skated on the trip. It was an empty backyard swimming pool.
The Shrine tends to skate empty pools.
“You’re being a criminal, you’re being an architect, you’re being a skateboarder,” he says. “It’s the raddest thing in the world.”
- Saturday, Oct. 22 and Sunday Oct. 23
- Discovery Park, Sacramento
- $94.50, single day tickets