Monday, April 4, 2011

Black Angels - Suuns - 9:30 Club - Apr 3 2011

Suuns - Great entrance as a keyboard note wails away while the guitarist, bassist and drummer get ready. A wash of noise sneaks into the mix before the drums join in with the rhythm. The music continues in a rhythmic fashion, lead as much by the keyboards as the drumming. The vocals are a bit shoegazy with a romantic sneer not unlike Reg Presley of the Troggs. The music was psychedelic in its own unique way, similar to Wooden Shjips, but a bit more shogazey. There was a bit of instrument shifting in the addition of a guitar, but the keyboards, synth and sound effects seemed to lead much of the way. The quiet songs were a little too obtuse to hook up with, but the rockier tunes worked quite well. This was an interesting set that was politely received by the smallish crowd. There was enough of an originality to it that will keep me tuned in to see what this Montreal band can come up with next.

Black Angels - This is at least my third time seeing this fine psychedelic band from Austin. They have always impressed me and it was no different tonight. They are one of the steadiest, reliable bands of those that I see routinely. They succeed in creating a silky smooth groove oriented psychedelia which is unusual as their songs are quite short and are not merely vehicles for extending the music into long flowing jams. They have a bit of variety in their songs as well, although the overall sound is well defined within a large fenced in free-range. The vocals are a cut above and remind me of a cross between Canned Heat and Dead Meadow. The real success is that they take a classic psyche feeling and yet sound firmly entrenched in the modern day. They are not a throwback band trying to emulate garage heroes of the 60s (although they no doubt love those bands, as I do). The club had picked up a bit more in numbers and excitement during this set as many were familiar with the band. The approach remained the same as previous visits with lots of instrument switching to allow for multiple guitars, percussion or keyboards as the song warranted. They played for 55 minutes before coming out for a three song encore, the first of which was a nice solo guitar and vocals performance. Another fine appearance that went over well with their growing number of fans.

Road trip anyone?  If anyone is down in Austin at the end of the month, do check out Austin Psyche Fest. The information is on the Black Angels site. They deserve a lot of credit for being a part of this event for the forth time and I would love to head down there some day to take in the fun one of these years.

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