The Black Angels – Majestic Theater Madison – 05-13-2017

I can’t believe it has been 3 years since I saw The Black Angels.

I was turned on to The Black Angels by Otis and I fell for them hard. I scoured the internet for live tracks and obscurities (as I am wont to do) and for those looking for a treat check out The Black Angels on Austin City Limits:

They play without all the lights and you can see and get a sense for the way they play and the talent they all have without all the flash. It’s a good compare and contrast from the live show with all the effects.

And it turns out they are appearing again soon!:

To me, the melding of the psych and heavy bottom end that The Black Angels play is spot on and perfect. The show 3 years ago blew me away and I was stoked for this years show.

So Saturday night we ventured down to King Street. I love getting a shot of the marquee.

We got in and having arrived after doors opened, we went directly upstairs, it was already packed downstairs. I headed for the crows nest (right hand side over the stairs) but there were too many folks standing in the right hand standing zone, so we headed for seating further up. Actually there were only a few rows above us. The view was actually not bad, because we were high enough to be above the railing that often fouls my photos.

The first band (A Place To Bury Strangers) was already playing. They were very psych and the lighting was not conducive to any photos. The lighting was more like strobe explosions. There was a sign out front as we came in warning about “stroke lighting”. They were not kidding. So either the stage was dark, with not even the stage lights on, or the lights were blazing. As a consequence, this is my best picture of the band:

I am undecided about the A Place To Bury Strangers set. Parts were great, other parts were kind of off for me. I think I should check out their studio work.

Then as the members of A Place To Bury Strangers left the stage into the crowd to the sound of feedback the house lights came up and there was a stage changeover. Afraid I would never get another shot, I took this shot of the band as they were between songs and the lights were up. I knew that a light show was an essential part of Black Angels shows.

The show started with “Currency”, my favorite track from the new album, which I bought on Record Store Day (though not an RSD release). It is fantastic to say the least.

There are times when I recommend starting to investigate a band with a particular album, but with The Black Angels… jump in anywhere. Every album is great. I love the artwork on them too. Here’s the newest one “Death Song”.

The music was thudding, the lights were flashing and swirling, and the music was mixed just right. A+ work sound board guys!

They did a nice mix of old and new stuff and the only thing we couldn’t see was the backdrop that the folks downstairs could see behind the band. When I went to the bar for another delicious cider I could see it, and it was, at least at that time, a picture from the inside of the album of “face melting woman”.

I tried to get some more pictures as they played, but I didn’t have much success. Here are the 2 pictures I consider viewable.

There was a time when I thought the inclusion of an organ in a band made it too old time. Probably from my experience with our family organ when I was a kid. The organs that these guys play are an essential part of the psych and they play them well. You can see here that sometimes the lead singer played organ, sometimes bass, and the right hand keyboard guy also played guitar. They are versatile, that’s for sure.

The stage presence of the band is low key, not a lot of movement, but the music and the lights make you feel like the room is spinning or bouncing along. It’s a great show.

I hit the merch table on the way out and picked up a copy of an older album, Phosphene Dream:

It was a great night and I’ll be spinning this and turning on my music room closet lights to give myself the poor man’s effects from the show.

Come back to Madison soon Black Angels!

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