The Skinny Magazine in Vancouver is LIVE - LOUD - LOCAL covering independent and touring music - Punk, Metal, Garage, Noise and Rock n Roll since 2008!


Black Angels photo by Bev Davies
Black Angels - Bev Davies photo

Commodore Ballroom - May 14, 2013

Sometimes a show is like a direct electromagnetic shock, but in the best way possible and this was the kind that induced a blurred sense of time.

The summoning drone of the 2008, “Vikings” drew the crowd into the front, while the prismatic “I Hear Colors” expanded the experience. The tone was set with vibrant and chromatic projections filling the stage. A fitting introduction to their new album Indigo Meadow. Fresh from the Austin Pysch Fest, the Black Angels make their way through North America dispensing their hypnotic form of wisdom.

For Velvet Underground and Spacemen 3 admirers, this was an evening made up of the sublime.  A classic Farfisa organ remains downstage centre as a fixed point to the fluid rotation of front man Alex Maas, Christian Bland and Kyle Hunt swapping hands on guitars, bass and keyboards. Upstage, another ceaseless constant Stephanie Bailey on drums.

A quick finger count shows about ten songs from latest release made the set. Negotiating a catalog of mind-altering sonics, lyrical gravity and pop hooks, in the first third, an upbeat “Telephone” from the 2010 Phosphene Dream lightens the dance floor with a garagesque hip shaker. Mid show dips into a distinctly vintage psych pool with “Twisted Light” off Indigo Meadow and from the same album, “Broken Soldier”, “Evil Things” and “War On Holiday” conquers something weightier. “You On The Run” from Directions to See a Ghost and “Black Grease” from Passover seize memorable territory. A perfect decision was made to finish with the 2010 “Bad Vibrations” and a rhythmically analogous “Young Men Dead,” off their first full-length album.

With Vancouver’s Commodore Ballroom hosting this Canadian stop, before the Australian leg of the tour. It was just another reminder why this pilgrimage to a live event is so essential.

- tiina.l