John Delzoppo, in addition to being one of the Lottery League’s organizers, is the drummer for the completely insane instrumental metal duo Clan of the Cave Bear, and is the possessor of one of Cleveland’s all time great rock-faces. So great, in fact, are his rock-faces, that by themselves they constitute a reason to go see Cave Bear even if you don’t like awesome shit. Bassist Ed Stephens is one of Cleveland’s treasures. He’s not only skillful as all hell, he’s stylistically omnivorous. He’s known equally well for his work with skullcrushers Abdullah and for the late Roberto Occasio’s Latin Jazz Project. Saxophonist Chris Burge has surely blown your little pea-brain out if you’ve seen him with the Up Ensemble. Vocalist Christa Ebert should be well known to you if you’re a regular reader of the print rag that publishes this blog, but if you don’t know her solo-vocal project Uno Lady, god fuckin’ damn, get on that already, it’s really cool stuff.
So just looking at the lineup, we see a strong presence of jazz and metal in the mix (and a potent mix it is), and the Uno Lady curveball. If you’re even slightly like me, that’s enticing shit, so I was grateful that the Beat Vikings let me crash their rehearsal last Thursday night. The practice was held at Delzoppo’s West Side recording studio, Negative Space, which is not just a great recording facility (my band did most of its last album there, and while I don’t want to be overly pluggy, it’s a really nice place to track), but also a bottomless treasure trove for connoisseurs of charmingly thrashed old gear. It was also the original home of The Tower, one of Cleveland’s longer-running DIY venues. But yeah, so anyway, here’s the Beat Vikings’ shit. — Kretsch