The Black Angels and Vietnam @ The Independent, 5/30/07

It was psychedelic rock night at The Independent, and this was proved not only by the music at hand, but also the earthy smell of unwashed hippie-sters in the air, and the passion clashin’ happening both onstage and in the audience.

As Vietnam took the stage, I soon caught the vibe of ‘something going on behind the scenes’. Guitar boy wasn’t really playing, and was muttering to Lead Singer boy to give him a pick or something. Not in the oops-this-is-the-kind-of-funny-thing-the-audience-pays-to-see way, but in a jerky, shit-not-together way. These types of guitarist-singer disruptions continued, which kept taking me out of the ‘peace sign sway’ mode and pushed me right into ‘this guy sounds like a poor man’s Dylan- hurry up and finish your set’ mode. Highlight was definitely when the guitarist played a ‘solo’ on a Nintendo DS, complete with floor rolls and all. That type of technical integration did not fit with a ’70s throwback band. Then, shortly after, another ‘interaction’ occurred, this time with the drummer and guitarist, I think. And, the next thing we all knew, the drummer got up and left and the set was cut short. Guitar boy even muttered “well, I guess it’s over”. Hmmmm…..bit of advice? If you’re going to have some band drama on stage, crank it up a little. Take some lessons from Anton (BJM) and throw a hissy and punch someone out. The youtube cred will get you a record deal for sure. The muttering and sideways glances aren’t going to cut it.

Then, The Black Angels. Class act, these guys. No, really, I went to school with the guitarist, Christian Bland. I really enjoyed them, even though some of the space out moments would have been better in an altered state. I commend them for heavy hard rock chick integration into the band- they’ve got a chick on keyboards and a drummer/bassist chick. They finished with a brilliant cover of Iggy’s ‘I Wanna Be Your Dog’, sung by the bassist. Strange way to end a show, but no complaints here. Great video projections of national geographic/history channel stuff added to the atmosphere. The Black Angels are proving to everyone that Austin produces some of the best space out rock bands of today (Explosions in the Sky, The Octopus Project, Trail of Dead…)

Video from a different show, the cover of Iggy’s ‘I Wanna Be Your Dog’ (this song has been covered by some really different acts…I also love this version)

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