Black Angels Review: Montreal April 12 2013

I wasn’t sold upon my first few listens of the new Black Angels album, Indigo Meadow. My thoughts were certainly influenced by the release of the first single “Don’t Play With Guns”, which I thought at first was quite awful, and a bit of a generic departure for the band.

I decided to listen to the album again, this time without prejudice – and with one major change: I played it really, really loud.

It made all the difference. The Black Angels have 2 members less on this record than the last time I saw them live, and they indeed have streamlined their sound. The atmospherics are no longer in your face. They are in your face if you play it loud, however.

And it was with this that I had the album on repeat and grew to enjoy it more with each listen. My faith in last Friday’s show finally restored, I had a few drinks at Foufounes Electriques with some friends before the show, and got our hazy selves to Le National, where the band was playing.

Arriving in a taxi, the first thing that happened was a Musique Plus camera crew jumped on us asking “Are you Black Angels Fans?”. I answered yes and was then told that they had just interviewed singer Alex Maas, asking him to do a Rorschach Test, and would I be happy to oblige? This way Black Angels fans could compare fan-to-band.

What a crock of shit. I gladly took the piss.

-What’s this to you?
-Gene Simmons’ facepaint.
-And this?
-A woman’s genitals.
-And this?
-Two wolves making out.

My friends joined in as well, that should keep the editing guy busy.

So the show started as another whiskey went down, and man was it exactly what a Black Angels show should finally look like: Big. A big stage, huge projections, big sound. This is a band that deserves to be seen in a large venue, and as they’re going on, the venues are getting bigger, so the future is looking good for band and fans alike.

This last album of theirs has a lot of listeners divided, based on reviews I’ve read. My take? I think these songs were meant to be heard “live”, which explains the sometimes sparse sound of the new record. To hear “Indigo Meadow”, “Evil Things”, “Don’t Play With Guns”, (PS: is it just me or the melody really reminds me of Here Comes The Sun?!) show-opener “I Hear Colors (Chromaesthesia)” alongside…shall we say, classics? “Young Men Dead”, “Entrance Song”, “You On The Run”, “Telephone” and “Black Grease” worked perfectly with the new material, and the setlist had a fantastic album-to-album balance.

If anything, it’s like the band pulls you through a trip that would range from the evolution of psych between 1965-1969.

A very intense performance – the highlight to me was drummer Stephanie Bailey, who will one day marry me. She’s amazing. A very intense drummer, with a perfect feel and great creativity. Definitely brings personality to the band, and I tip my hat to thee.

It was a visual treat, a near-perfect setlist, a dedicated performance by the band, and exhausting in the very good way that rock shows can make you. Worth the 20$!

LOW RES PICS FOR YA!

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