The Black Angels - This is my second time seeing this Austin psychedelic five-piece. They have a drummer and four people that interchange instruments all night offering a bass, along with anywhere from 1-3 guitars, 0-2 keyboards and synthesizers, and added percussion. Even with all the change, the sound is remarkably the same in part due to the moody laconic vocals and mostly similar beats and tempo. It is an excellent psychedelic sound--lots of swirl and reverb with a great sense of space. The set started strong and their were some nice songs toward the end. The only problem I have with this band is their lack of variety, especially noticeable in this one hour, fifteen minute set. Still, they are not far off the mark with a great sound which I will happily witness again some time soon, I hope.
Black Mountain - It is nice to finally see this band as they tour their third album. Interestingly enough, they begin with a steady diet of selections from their older works and only sample some new songs toward the end of the set. They are a five piece with full keyboards, rhythm section, guitar/vocals and female vocals. No instrument switching at all aside from the acoustic guitar and the keyboardist varying sounds mostly between organ and synthesizer. They give off a stage demeanor similar to that of Bardo Pond, although they are a bit more song oriented in their overall approach. But they are indeed kindred spirits and they also work perfectly off the opening set tonight (Both bands are touring together). I particularly liked the vocals that at times reminded me of Gaskin-Cockerham of Spirogyra and even Balin-Slick of the Airplane. There songs have a nice variety between heavy and light with deft transitions. Whereas their albums contain absolutely great moments amongst passable songs, the live show of course offers the best should they have the ability go construct a good set list. They do and did as the set worked extremely well tonight. They played for just under 90 minutes and the crowd did diminish, partly due to the Sunday night Metro schedule I suppose. All in all and enjoyable loud blast of some of the better psychedelic music being produced on this continent.
Quote of the Night: I thought the Black Angels may have covered an old psyche song, such as that compiled on Lenny Kaye's Nuggets compilation (which I just read was named by Jac Holzman of Elektra, whom Kaye thanked for not taking his much worse title of "Rockin' and Reelin' USA"). Anyway, when I saw Kaye playing with Patti Smith a couple years ago, this is how he intro'ed "Pushin' Too Hard".... "If you dug it, it's a Nugget."