The Black Angels @ Empire Automotive 03.15

Posted March 19, 2012 in

Photo: Alexandra Valenti

Immediately after checking out Christian Bland and the Revelators near the University I snaked my way back down to Austin’s 7th street to check out The Black Angels. Although I’ve seen the band numerous times and more than one of my SLUG cohorts pointed this out to me when I announced my plans, I’d have a difficult time turning down a chance to see them live—that’s how blown away I’ve consistently been by their performance. I’ll admit that I might be kind of a The Black Angels fan boy, but fuck it, I don’t care, it’s not like I have their name tattooed on my body or anything…

Held in what looked like a repurposed auto garage, the massive venue was already packed when I arrived around 10:30. I grabbed a drink from the overwhelmed bartenders and quickly squeezed my way to the front to stand near the stage. After what felt like a super long sound check (I might have just been impatient and growing annoyed of the girl standing next to me, though), the band opened with “Sniper” and I was thrilled to be standing front and center watching Alex Maas belt out the lyrics to the song.  Their nine-song set was exactly what I expected from the Austin-based band: awe-inspiring and amazing.

The onstage dynamic between Christian Bland and Alex Maas is magical, and it became clear why hours before as I watched Bland’s side project I left feeling like the set had only been okay. When these two men come together, they create music that feels transcendental, which I mean in the least “hippy-bullshit” way that I possibly can. Their set spanned all of their albums and consisted of almost all of my favorite songs —“Bad Vibrations,” “Young Men Dead,” “Black Grease,” “You On the Run” and “Sunday Afternoon” all made appearances. Although I’ll admit that I wish they had played an encore, I got my The Black Angels fix while in Austin, which is more than I could ask for. 

Photo: Alexandra Valenti