Perhaps only a lifetime prescription for medicinal marijuana would thrill a stoner more than the third annual Emissions From the Monolith fest. Three days of piledriving reefer rock in a Youngstown roadhouse that looks as if it were pulled from the recesses of David Lynch's scrambled brain, Emissions is a THC tour de force.
"I just like all these bands and wanted to put them together on the same bill and make a big festival of craziness out of it -- one big party," says festival organizer Greg Barrat, who also owns Nyabinghi Dance Hall and runs the Tone Deaf Touring booking agency. "I try to get a lot of the unknowns: the bands that all the other bands know, but music lovers in general have no idea who the hell they are."
That isn't entirely true of this year's roster. Boasting such luminaries as soulful scene forebear Spirit Caravan, baked Brit riff devotees Orange Goblin, the Southern sledgehammer that is Mastodon, local ragers Boulder and Disengage, and dozens of others, Emissions has become a national attraction -- a wild and woolly celebration of one of rock and roll's most potent subgenres.
"For me, stoner rock is sort of a mixture of metal and psychedelia in a way," says Bobby Black, a writer for High Times magazine who's working on a documentary on the stoner rock scene. "It's heavy, but it's jammy and groovy -- it's a little more free-form than metal would be. It's sort of like a culmination of all the different rock styles that have come along -- the little best parts of each just put together."
Or, rather, rolled together.