May 24, 2007

The Black Angels — Doug Fir Lounge, Portland, OR

Posted in concerts, music, portland at 9:46 pm by berzerkeleyan

black angels button

The 60’s Revival seems to be in full effect these days. Lots of bands are now wearing their love of 60’s psychedelic rock on their collective sleeves. I don’t know if it’s a cyclical thing, the similarity of today’s political climate to back then, or both. But make no mistake, the intensity of the music and the subject matter of today’s revivalists mimics what came out during those turbulent times.

The Black Angels are probably the best example of the genre at the moment. I’d first heard them last year on Morning Becomes Eclectic, and was instantly hooked. You can hear their influences clearly: The Doors, Jefferson Airplane, The Velvet Underground, even some Black Sabbath. You can also sprinkle in more modern influences like Joy Division, The Brian Jonestown Massacre, and what I call the Texas Indie Drone which, if you’ve heard bands like Explosions in the Sky and Lift To Experience, you know what I mean (it makes sense since they’re from Austin). It’s a heady blend of sound, one that I like very much. Their debut album has been in heavy rotation these past two weeks. So, naturally, I had to see them when they slithered through town.

I hadn’t anticipated going to see a band this much since last year’s Phoenix show. Fortunately, The Black Angels aren’t big enough yet to play at a large venue. So off to the Doug Fir I went, my favorite club in Portland. And they did not disappoint. Since they’re new, they spent the night playing almost everything from their debut album. The highlights for me were “The Prodigal Sun,” “The Sniper at the Gates of Heaven,” and their encore — an excellent cover of The Stooges’ “I Wanna Be Your Dog.” Nice.

Live, they sounded to me like The Doors more than anything, but with a chunkier rhythm section. The band was fairly tight, and seemed to have fun confusing me by switching instruments with each other all night. They were all fun to watch, but the highlight for me (and for most of the crowd, I would imagine) was watching Stephanie Bailey pound on the drums. It was hot. I would daresay she was almost as sexy as this.

These guys are for real. If they don’t implode, and our current war continues to drag on, I anticipate great things for them. One thing’s for sure — they bring something live that can’t be captured on a CD. So if you have the opportunity to see them now, do it. Before they start playing exclusively in the arenas.

Concert rating (0 – 100): 86


  1. […] The Black Angels “Passover” (2006) — see post, below. […]

  2. Christina said,

    Next time I come to Portland, I want to plan it around a show at the Doug Fir. I worked on a ticketing application last year for TicketsWest and was always looking up the details on show at the Doug Fir and fell in love with it through the pictures. I got to also add your blog to my blogroll. I will do that now…

  3. berzerkeleya said,

    There are two shows coming up at the Doug Fir that I plan to attend:
    Sat Jun 23, Richmond Fontaine — they’re a Portland-based Americana group. Very good.
    Tue Jun 26, The Veils — British/Kiwi group. I love them. I will not miss this show.
    Maybe you’d care to join me?

  4. […] Psychedelic Rock. The Black Angels return to the Doug Fir tomorrow night. I’m there. Again. Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Music Rotation — 21 MayJun Jin Raunchy Music […]

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