Friday night marked the fourth time in the past two years Austin’s Black Angels steered their never ending tour in support of 2006’s Passover into Cleveland, and the first time they headlined the Beachland Ballroom. Previous dates included two shows topping the ticket at the Tavern, and one date opening for the Black Keys at the Agora.
Now that they’ve graduated to the big room at the Bechland, the band were able to bring a stage show that matched their dark, brooding psych rock. The stage lights remained off for the majority of the show while old black and white movies with superimposed images flickered in the background. At one point scenes from Birth of a Nation provided the backdrop for the shadows, while at other times there were panoramic shots of the American Desert, frantic men flapping their arms helplessly in the water, and mad men being chased through the jungle. The Black Angels also brought with them a slew of new tunes. Looking at the set list from Friday night’s show, only six of the thirteen numbers appeared on Passover, and “Empire” and “First Vietnamese War” have both undergone a bit of tweaking from their album versions. I was able to identify a couple other numbers (“Ronnettes” and “You In Color”) from their archived live recordings.
Aside from “Black Grease” and “Better Off Alone” which consistently kill live, “You In Color” is quickly becoming a highlight of their sets. All of the elements of a great Black Angels song are there: the tribal, pounding drums, slithering guitar riffs crouching ready to erupt at any second, and some well placed howls teasing and tempting the audience, until they all come together for one rapturous wall of sound.
Black Angels – You In Color (live in Toronto 10.15.07) [download]