The Black Angels @ Old Rock House, St. Louis

Word and pictures by Duane Clawson
To properly review the Black Angels show at Old Rock House in St. Louis, I had to perform some internal regression therapy.  This therapy took me to a place in my misspent youth that included some experimentation with mind altering substances.  During this “experimentation”, some details are fuzzy while other details remain extremely vivid.  What I’m trying to say here is that I may not remember all the details of seeing the Black Angels live but some aspects of their show will haunt me for a lifetime.  This St. Louis show would be a warm up for the band's impending Lollapalooza performance the next day in Chicago.  Opening with the thunderously psychedelic “Sniper at the Gates of Heaven”, the band set the tone for the evening with fuzzed-out guitars and a heavy backbeat provided by pint-sized Stephanie Bailey on drums.  Alan Maas’ vocals are best described as monotone (see Neil Young) while the band’s music provides the color contrast that gives this Austin, Texas (ATX) band pop.  The Black Angels wasted no time getting to the band’s more popular material by performing “Young Men Dead” as the third song in their set.  After chatting with audience members, I found out many of us had discovered the Angels music through Young Men Dead ,being featured in a video game trailer.  A quick visual poll of the very large Old Rock House audience found young hipsters and old hippies enjoying the music of the Black Angels.

The wall behind the behind the band served as makeshift screen for an ever changing array of psychedelic images that only added the appeal of seeing the band live. To wind down the main set of music the band eased from “You on the Run” to “Dee-Ree-Shee” featuring an ultra rare Sitar solo by the multitalented Rishi Dhir. As Rishi was hypnotizing the Old Rock House with his solo, his fellow bandmates left the stage to prepare for a powerful three-song encore. The band returned to deliver the somewhat dreamy new song “I’d Rather be Lonely”.  To close out the night, the Angels brought the tempo up with “Bloodhounds on My Trail”, a song that if written by the Beatles, would have been included on the Sgt. Pepper album.   After the show, I talked with a couple that told me this was the third time they had seen the Black Angels at the Old Rock House. This couple told me it was great to see each audience grow and that this audience was by far the most appreciative of the band’s music.  A few times throughout the night, one could catch a glimpse of the slightest of smiles on Alan Maas’ face which could indicate he was most appreciative of St. Louis’ reaction to the Angels' brand music. Thanks to Big Hassle Media and the Black Angels for allowing me to cover the show.  Pictures of the show are below:

Contributed by Duane Clawson
The Black Angels @ Old Rock House, St. Louis The Black Angels @ Old Rock House, St. Louis Reviewed by Scott Rowe, Editor on August 08, 2012 Rating: 5
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