Battling their way through a set mired by technical difficulties (through no fault of the band), Austin locals The Black Angels packed the outdoor MWTX Festival’s South Stage Friday night.
Taking the stage almost an hour late after a travesty of a sound check and a stage setup caused by what one could only assume was a horribly mismanaged festival stage crew, Alex Mass musically said “Fuck it” and just started playing. While the final few minutes of sound check were being performed, he mesmerized the audience alone with a bass guitar and his utterly unique vocal tone segueing into the opening song, immediately taking the audience to classic experimental-psychedelia bliss.
Normally I draw comparisons to other bands, and I could go the easy route and say that The Black Angels remind me of The Velvet Underground, 13th Floor Elevators, or Brian Jonestown Massacre. But at the same time, they don’t. Sure, certain parts of their songs remind me of other bands, but the combination of their oddly familiar rhythms and Alex’s vocals results in an overall sound like no other.
Considering how troubled the performance was with technical problems—from feedback issues to the lighting going out—it’s surprising that I wasn’t bothered. Not one bit. I was far too occupied with the droning tones and rich, classic rock framing to care. The band left the stage clearly frustrated by the difficulties, though it did not in any way tarnish the performance and music itself.
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