The Black Angels | 08.03.06

The band served up a hypnotic wall of sound that penetrated right through the collective cortex of the assembled masses.

 

 

 

Photo by Doug Tull

Off Broadway, St. Louis

Austin's sextuplet the Black Angels delivered a sweaty night of neo-psychedelia at their St. Louis debut. The Black Angels attracted a packed crowd of St. Louis' underground hipsters, tuned-in college kids, and alternative purists. The nagging question was whether they could replicate the dense maelstrom and sonic majesty of their latest EP Passover in a live setting. The answer: they did, and in spades.

From the opening drone of anti-war anthem "Young Men Dead," to the final glacial strains of love song "Manipulation," the band served up a hypnotic wall of sound that penetrated right through the collective cortex of the assembled masses. In addition to delivering amazing live renditions of tracks from their new EP, they also threw in some soon-to-be-released material, a couple of tracks from their 2005 self-titled EP, as well as extended, Floydian jams.

Having never seen a photo of the entire band, this reviewer couldn't wait to see what lay behind the veil. I had half imagined some Manson family throwbacks, but instead was pleasantly surprised to see a young, fashionably attired band of rock gods, with a cute female drummer and keyboardist to boot. The most amazing visual had to be the constant switching of instruments in flawless, lockstep precision.

Drummer Stephanie Bailey transformed into a bassist, bassist Nate Ryan switched to floor toms for the apocalyptic "The Sniper at the Gates of Dawn," and guitarists Christian Bland and multi-instrumentalist Kyle Hunt traded riffs, switched guitars and stomped on a dizzying array of effects pedals for the duration of the 45-minute set.

Lead singer Alex Maas was an animated, commanding shaman and frontman, strutting the stage, banging a tambourine or augmenting the sound with his solid guitar playing, while keyboardist/drone machinist Jennifer Raines was the picture of belated, detached cool.

If you missed the Black Angels, do not despair; they'll be back in November for another command performance. They deliver a solid live show, so save up your milk money for their return.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply