For the show with 1000mods, Freedom Hawk and Low Orbit opened proceedings, absolutely slamming the audience with their sonic blast of muscle car riffs and unrelenting, sweaty delivery of the stoner rock goods.
Freedom Hawk – Low Orbit
Lee’s Palace, Toronto – 9 September 2023
Words: Sunil Singh
Photography: Melanie Webster
First up were local heroes, Low Orbit. This was my third time seeing the band, and despite some technical difficulties, it was my favourite performance by the band. Emilio Mammone, who honed his specific drum chops playing with doom masters Sons Of Otis, gives the band the percussion personality needed for the lava-flowing intensity that characterizes their cosmic trippiness.
They opened their set with Sea Of See, which is a great song to encapsulate the intersecting influences of doom and psychedelic space jams. If the band didn’t have Dead Moon in their arsenal, it could easily be a closer itself.
As a four-piece now, the band only seems to be getting better live. Angelo Catenero, the band’s frontman, has the perfect voice–or should I say howl–to complement the dense soundscapes that the band mercilessly carves out. There is a confident sinisterism that comes from him.
There were several moments when Caterno, Mammome, Grigic, and the newest addition, Yake, just found a groove that sent shivers down your spine, as though a tear in the cosmic fabric was imminent.
By the time the band got to closer, the aforementioned Dead Moon, the momentum of their set had climbed appreciably. It’s a number that starts off with little fanfare, but a few minutes in, one of those riffs that just hits you right at your head-nodding core of doom approval kicks in.
Wisely, the band just stretched this song out to have its heavy psychedelia pummel the Lee’s Palace crowd. I am sure Roscoe, an ardent fan who came all the way from Cleveland to see the band, was probably even gobsmacked by the prolonged outro of this song.
If Low Orbit lands in your neck of the woods, do not hesitate to see them!
Up next were Freedom Hawk, hailing from coastal Virginia and longtime veterans of the US underground scene. A band that, while harvesting many things Sabbath like Low Orbit, tends to have a flow that has a distinct rolling groove.
As such, their mosaic of sound is more like fast splatters of the entire Sabbath catalogue, with the right amount of catchy hooks and trippy noodling.
Their 2022 album, Take All You Can, was the perfect tonic coming out of the pandemic. And they played several songs from that album with the feral abandon that you would hope for.
While the whole set just felt like one big song that kept cresting, the standouts of the evening were Age Of The Idiot, We Need Rock And Roll, and Solid Gold.
Freedom Hawk showed how you can be uncompromisingly heavy but still give a performance that is uplifting, leaving only smiles on the faces of all those who were head-nodding in tribal unison throughout their set.