The Black Angels descended from the hills of Austin to the Houston House of Blues Sunday. They were accompanied by Car Seat Headrest from Leesburg, Virginia. This opener brought an engaging indie rock sound that was a mix of purist vibes and experimentation. Two lead singers with different guitar styles made their music very approachable.
Their song Drunk Drivers/Killer Whales and tribute to Neil Young’s “Powderfinger” were high points which energized the crowd readying them for their headliner. Their performance motivated listeners to discover more from this young band.
The techs began clearing the stage and setting up for the headliner while rows of people remained standing, not about to lose their spot for one of Texas’s top acts! The light show began before the music and throughout the night the lights and visuals were mind-blowing! One remarked that they saw tracers on their tracers! One man with a british accent was talking to his date and said, “you asked me what their music was like? This is very representative of that.” No doubt very psychedelic.
Everyone who is aware of modern psychedelic music should know of this intensely creative, lyrically provocative, and engaging rock band. More than a few strong acts, around Texas cover and thus pay tribute to The Black Angels. Their live performance justifies all the love music of The Black Angels receives! A slew of awesome Rickenbackers, Gibsons, and Fenders were played masterfully, drums so solid even a bunker buster couldn’t detract from their rhythm impeccable timing. No boring long drum or guitar solos, but rather great guitar riffs, rhythms, and those amazing keys that brought in a wealth of sounds. All the while lyrics wash and swirl around you in a mixture of harmony and intensity. All of the musicians in this band are top notch for sure!
Bathed in colored, swirling lights, mirror images of themselves and many other projection/light effects. They performed a strong set of over a dozen well loved songs including, "Medicine", "I'd Kill for Her", "Black Grease", "Half Believing”, “Currency” and many more from their latest album and their catalogue. They did their job well leaving many shouting audience members asking for more music, others picking up albums so they could continue to enjoy the Black Angels.
The Black Angels count The Velvet Underground , Red Crayola, 13th Floor Elevators, Brian Jonestown Massacre, The Warlocks, the Pink Floyd, Jesus & Mary Chain, Clinic, Verve, Spacemen 3, Suicide, Joy Division, Syd Barrett, The Stooges, Bob Dylan, The Doors, The Beatles, 13th Floor Elevators, LOVE, The Raveonettes amongst their influences. Yet their sound runs the gamut of known psychedelic music, and breaks through to the discovery and instantiation of something new, that new is the music of The Black Angels.
Psychedelic experimental music is therapeutic. Psychedelic music provides a means by which to alter our perceptions, and altering perceptions, is very close to and may lead to questioning presuppositions. The Black Angels create a sound that draws you in, takes you places you may not expect to go, and couples this with lyrics that question presuppositions about war, relationships, currency and other subjects. This is a valuable service indeed! The music provides an avenue for a mode of thinking and feeling that resonates with many.
Needless to say the people at The House of Blues Sunday night are aware and taking this music back with them to their offices, cubicles, cars, friends houses. This is therapeutic this is important. This is what The Black Angels brought to Houston.