At the end of June, South Broadway is flooded with black denim vests, cannabis smoke and loud, heavy riffs as Electric Funeral Fest dominates the neighborhood, turning it into a haven for all things doom, sludge and heavy rock.
This June will be no exception: The Denver doom booking company DUST Presents will resurrect Electric Funeral Fest for the third year in a row. The metal festival falls right in the heart of Denver's prime summer party season, but it stands out as a chance for fans of doom, sludge, stoner metal and other slow, heavy subgenres to hear some of their favorite artists and enjoy two days of snail-paced brutality.
This year includes higher-profile artists than in years past, including the renowned Southern metal act Weedeater. Known for eccentric singer Dave "Dixie" Collins's antics — he often drinks cough syrup on stage and once had to cancel a tour after he shot off his own toe — Weedeater is one of the catchiest, most memorable bands in the sludge genre. Also on this year's bill are Southwestern doom lords Eagle Twin, Denver's own Primitive Man and the classic sludge band Zeke.
Another headliner this year, Speedwolf, a respected Denver metal group, prides itself on playing fast, hard, heavy rock. Speedwolf was once a major Denver staple, known for songs like "Denver 666" and "Hail Peyton," an ode to the great Broncos quarterback. But the group hasn't played together in a while, and after singer Reed Bruemmer left Denver for New York City, many thought Speedwolf was finished.
"We haven't played for about four years; we kind of had a big falling out, and we hadn't even really been in the same room since, until recently," says Speedwolf drummer Richie Tice. "I was in some legal trouble, my dad passed away, I wasn't able to leave, and everyone wanted to tour. It means everything to get Speedwolf back together."
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Now that the group is reunited, not only are the bandmates putting the past behind them, but they're also talking about recording, even with Bruemmer living out of state.
"When we got together, we played fourteen songs without even practicing; we have eight songs already ready to go. We just have to be able to record them, and when Reed comes down for the show, we'll discuss the next steps," Tice says.
Fans of Speedwolf will be thrilled to learn that this isn't just a one-off to sell tickets or a chance to appease fans. The bandmates will also be playing an extra-long set and selling a re-released version of their classic Ride With Death record, complete with special-edition artwork from Denver metal artist Sam Turner and an additional seven-inch record.
"I just want to make sure people know it's not just a a reunion for reunion's sake; we've been talking about it for a long time and had a lot of offers," Tice says. Life kind of kicked my butt and then Reed's. I know he had some issues, too. We all had stuff going on. I at least never lost contact with any of the dudes. We didn't really ever want to break up in the first place. It was just one of those things. It was probably the only thing I had control over at the time, which was why I said no, but I couldn't really do anything about it. There's nothing to change about it. I just want to make sure that we're picking up where we left off."
Electric Funeral Fest III, June 29 to 30, at 3 Kings Tavern, 60 South Broadway, hi-dive, 7 South Broadway, and Mutiny Information Cafe, 2 South Broadway. Friday tickets and two-day passes are sold out, but Saturday tickets are available for $32 at Eventbrite.