25 February 2008

Black Mountain @ Bowery Ballroom - 22 February 2008

The first time I saw Black Mountain was in 2005, and I'm pretty sure the number of folks crammed onstage alone would have constituted a fire code violation.

Such is the benefit of sharing members with opening bands (as was the case then with Blood Meridian and Ladyhawk); when a given tune simply must have four additional people playing cowbells and maracas, you get to have four extra people playing cowbells and maracas. That night, the Mercury Lounge stage looked more like a hippie commune than a setting for a proper rock show.

And let's face it, if you're into Black Mountain it's because you want a big ole' thick-cut slice of ROCK. And while it wasn't as though they failed to deliver the ROCK then, it was just a bit difficult at times to discern the ROCKING through the mass of unwashed bodies onstage.

Nearly three years later, Black Mountain traded in the cramped digs of Mercury (cramped when you have a dozen folks onstage) for the more spacious environs of Bowery Ballroom. In the process, they also shed their superfluous entourage and rocked a sold-out crowd with the devastatingly effective lineup of their five core members.

Let's cut to the chase: if the 2005 version of Black Mountain was a traveling band of noodling gypsies, the 2008 version is a revved-up Mystery Machine, with singer/guitarist/mastermind Stephen McBean at the wheel (he's Shaggy of course) and vocalist Amber Webber riding shotgun (as Daphne). Up to you to figure out who's Velma, Scooby, and Fred...(more pics and exclusive audio and video after the jump)




Done? Good. The band blazed through a set that at first leaned heavily - and sequentially - on tracks from In The Future, lulling the crowd into thinking they'd be playing the entire album in sequential order before shifting gears into "Druganaut" - a standout from their self-titled debut - following an epic version of "Tyrants". The remainder of the set seamlessly mixed old and new into a steaming cauldron of fuzzy, bottom-heavy, organ-drenched psych-rock bliss. Apologies, but I just can't help evoking witch/goblin/medieval imagery when talking about these guys (it's either that or Scooby-Doo again so you tell me what's better).

It was also nice to hear the stellar sound at Bowery used to its full potential once again; every sustained guitar note, organ vamp, and throaty vocal howl cut through with impeccable precision and immediacy while still managing to coalesce and surge into a unified wall of ROCK.




Watch:
"Evil Ways" (live from this show) on YouTube|download QT

Listen:
"Evil Ways" (live from this show)

See more EF pictures from this show HERE

See Black Mountain Live:
25 February - Portland, ME @ The Space Gallery
26 February - Moncton, New Brunswick @ The Manhattan
27 February - Halifax, Nova Scotia @ The Marquee Club
29 February - Montreal, Quebec @ La Sala Rosa
05 March - Toronto, Ontario @ Lee's Palace
06 March - Cleveland Heights, OH @ Grog Shop
07 March - Louisville, KY @ Headliners
08 March - Newport, KY @ Southgate House
09 March - Knoxville, TN @ The Pilot Light
10 March - Nashville, TN @ Exit/In
11 March - Little Rock, AR @ Sticky Fingerz Chicken Shack
12-16 March - Austin, TX @ SXSW
16 March - Houston, TX @ Meridian
19 March - Norman, OK @ The Opolis
20 March - Kansas City, MO @ Record Bar
21 March - St. Louis, MO @ Bluebird
22 March - Chicago, IL @ Empty Bottle
23 March - Madison, WI @ High Noon Saloon
24 March - Minneapolis, MN @ 7th St. Entry
25 March - Fargo, ND @ Aquarium
27 March - Winnipeg, Manitoba @ Pyramid Cabaret
28 March - Regina, Saskatchewan @ The Distrikt
29 March - Saskatoon, Saskatchewan @ Amigo's
31 March - Edmonton, Alberta @ Starlite Room
01 April - Calgary, Alberta @ The Warehouse
02 April - Kelowna, British Columbia @ Habitat
05 April - Vancouver, British Columbia @ Commodore Ballroom
25 April - Indio, CA @ Coachella
09-11 May - Rye, England @ Camber Sands Holiday Centre (ATP vs. Pitchfork)
05-15-17 Brighton, England - Great Escape Festival

Visit Black Mountain on MySpace

4 comments:

molly said...

agreed. black mountain is the absolute best. they split my brain open when i saw them last month

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