Alibi V.28 No.21 • May 23-29, 2019 

Music Websclusive

Monolith on the Mesa

A high desert metal experience

Monolith on the Mesa
Monolith on the Mesa
All photos by Corey Yazzie
Metalheads, skaters and punks alike congregated together under the Scorpio moon for a postapocalyptic aesthetic and vibe, creating community in the high desert. Bands from across the country penetrated Taos with the eerie sounds of deep doom and psych metal, getting everyone in touch with their animalistic primal selves. At Monolith on the Mesa, the heavy sounds dug deeply into sacred lands, pulsated with the ancestors in a heavy, rhythmic dance.

This was a hesher's paradise, Taos' own Bartertown in the midst of barren desert. The Taos Mesa Brewing Mothership amphitheater resembles the Thunderdome, but with an aural violence. This violence doesn't crack skulls, it invades your very being. The intense forces of heavy metal pushed and pounded through the soul and beyond to the depths of the Earth. This is a Taos experience that can only be had at the Monolith on the Mesa festival.

White-capped mountains were the backdrop of a sky that is blue no matter the weather. The Mothership itself, open to the elements, stands in deep contrast to the dark, heavy indoor stage. Both carried the potent sound, engulfing its postmodern tribes in a crescendo that threatened to burst from the confines of each.

With over 40 stellar bands, food and drink, roaring fires, a half-pipe for skating and camping, last weekend was about escaping the mundane. The Thursday evening pre-party included local bands like The Horned God and Black Maria, with Black Magic Flower Power capping off the night.

Friday continued that mood with SuperGiant and Lord Buffalo, to name just a couple. Friday night ended with an epic performance by Om and Lisa Bella Donna's dark sound which lulled us to sleep and dreams of horror and fantasy as Friday night wound down.

On Saturday the gods of metal were at it again, cursing the body into compliance. Yatra and Palehorse/Palerider were both on hand to rock the collective body into submission. All this drew to a close with a monolithic after-party featuring Lord Dying and Year of the Cobra.

Yatra rides the heavy side of the mountain.
Yatra rides the heavy side of the mountain.

Nicole Estill of True Widow
Nicole Estill of True Widow
Roman Barham and the Monolith crew are feeling the metal moment.
Roman Barham and the Monolith crew are feeling the metal moment.
The devil is always in the details—like these meat-based signs of the horn.
The devil is always in the details—like these meat-based signs of the horn.
Communion purveys the sound of doom.
Communion purveys the sound of doom.
Sundown on the mesa
Sundown on the mesa
Jason Simon of Dead Meadow
Jason Simon of Dead Meadow
Fire on the mesa
Fire on the mesa
Let the music be your master.
Let the music be your master.
The Heavy Eyes layed the bass down.
The Heavy Eyes layed the bass down.
What is brought to light must endure burning.
What is brought to light must endure burning.
Liquid Lights shining on the Mothership
Liquid Lights shining on the Mothership
Legendary rocker Scott "Wino" Weinrich of The Obsessed
Legendary rocker Scott "Wino" Weinrich of The Obsessed
An eldritch mountain rock scene
An eldritch mountain rock scene
The passion of Lisa Bella Donna
The passion of Lisa Bella Donna
Pinkish Black experiments with sound
Pinkish Black experiments with sound
A full moon at Taos Mesa Brewing
A full moon at Taos Mesa Brewing