Last night was a night for learning lessons. The ticket line into the Black Mountain/Black Angels concert stretched back for what seemed like a half a block, at least 50 people in front of us. You could hear Black Mountain working through the setlist. A big chunk of no doubt awesome rock ‘n’ roll already down the tubes and the line was barely moving.
Meanwhile, the guy at the gate at La Zona Rosa shouted, “Everyone on the guest list, come this way!” and a big group of folks bypassed the line and entered the club. A 20-something guy with a goatee behind me said he used to be friends with one of the Black Angels, but they lost touch. He could’ve been on the guest list and waltzed right on in. His lesson learned: Better stay friends with everyone just in case they make it big if you want to be on the guest list.
My lesson learned: If you pay for a “will call” ticket online, you better have some kind of receipt in your pocket just in case. I heard the doors were opening at 8 p.m., but usually when I go to shows, that just means they try to sell you drinks for a couple of hours before you get any tunes, so I didn’t get down there till 9-ish. By the time I got there, got parked and walked down from the parking garage Black Mountain was just starting up, but I wasn’t worried. I had a will call ticket waiting for me. I’d just go tell them and go right in.
I got in a not-very-long line, made it to the front, gave my name and… They had no record of my transaction. I had to go get in the regular ticket line, which was very long by this time. A scalper-in-waiting kept shouting, “Got any extra tickets?!” Which made me nervous. He knew and I knew it was probably gonna sell out. What if they messed up my order so badly that I didn’t get in at all? I got to the window and they ran my card, handed me a ticket and said, “Oh, you checked ‘print out pass’ instead of Will Call. No big deal.” Very convenient, since I can’t prove otherwise, but I don’t think I screwed up. I think it was their snafu. Especially since at least 4 other people I spoke to had the same experience with will call and had to go wait in line. Pissed me off, since Black Mountain was really the band I wanted to see (I reviewed them in this blog if you remember).
I got inside and heard about a minute’s worth of “Druganaut,” plus a couple of unfamiliar songs that might’ve been off the new album, Wilderness Heart. Can’t speak for the rest of the album at this point, but what I heard was pretty much in line with the Black Mountain I already know — right in that sweet spot, where ’70s hard rock, psych and prog rock meet, nice early Sabbath vibe on some songs. One song reminded me a bit of classic Deep Purple. And then it was over. Sigh…
Got a gin and tonic in me and a pretty good contact high off the haze of marijuana smoke, then Austin’s own Black Angels took the stage. It wasn’t like the Legendary Pink Dots show, which I’ve described as a ritual of sorts. This was a rock show, put on by a young band whose star is rising. The place was packed full of adoring, very excited fans and the band picked up on that energy and returned it tenfold.
Before the show I heard a few Black Angels songs and liked them, but I didn’t really dig in and check them out, so I was basically experiencing this band for the first time. I spent a lot of time looking for influences. The main one that kept popping into my head was the 13th Floor Elevators. This was darker, more closely akin to goth, but still I felt like the band was doing things Roky Erickson would appreciate. Lots of feedback and reverb in the music. They also had a heavy beat that could be very hypnotic. On some of the songs there were actually two drummers.
Songs that stood out (tracked down by searching the web for key phrases) included: “Bloodhounds On My Trail,” “Science Killer” and “Young Men Dead” as well as the title track to the latest album, “Phosphene Dream.” Definitely a gothic angle to their music based on those song titles. I will be interested to hear the recorded version of the Black Angels after catching them live. Usually I get it the other way round.
Had another crazy guy incident, btw, although not as disruptive as the one at the Dots show. I think this guy was actually sane, but tripping out on something, bordering on freaking out. He kept jumping up and down with his arms out, screaming, like somebody in a Holy Roller church, bumping into me and others. Then he started rubbing around on some girls who would push him away, although one of them didn’t seem to mind that much. Then he stumbled into some guys who I thought were going to punch his lights out. They pushed him out of the way, which didn’t seem to phase him much. Finally, the girls whispered something in his ear. Not sure what they said, but it somehow penetrated his addled brain and he left. All in all I was impressed at how good-natured the crowd was. If you can be that annoying and not get punched, you’re surrounded by some pretty nice folks.