Live: SXSW Spills Over with Black Mountain
THE MERIDIAN -- 3/16/08: As I walked into an almost-empty Meridian, I wondered, "Am I at the right show? Is Black Mountain still playing tonight?" Then I remembered I was in Houston. And everyone was either recovering from SXSW or still there.
As the opening bands came off-stage, the Meridian's small red room started to fill, but not enough to pack the house, which made for a great intimate setting. Faces started lighting up from the green glowing cube in the bass drum. When the first note was heard, bodies started to shake. Like a riff from a Sabbath album, Black Mountain had come to rock Houston.
The driving force behind the band, Stephen McBean's guitar tone came through with psychedelic grooves and a '70s metal crunch, not to mention leads you'd want to rush home and learn. Looking like a Canadian mountain man, McBean plowed through the songs as if he'd been playing them since he was kid. With the help of his backbeat heathen, Matt Camirand, and bandmates Jeremy Schidt and Joshia Wells, the band focused on the more epic songs from their new album In the Future.
"Stormy High" and "Angels" lit up the set for me, making the new album even more enjoyable. Knowing a band with such experimental insight and love of music could pull off such epic songs live makes any music lover appreciate the art. Still, "Druganaut" and "Don't Run Our Hearts Around," both from their debut, remained timeless. Ending the show with the eight-minute monster "Tyrants", singer Amber Webber really shone, with her tremolo-style vocals. Trading off verses with McBean, Webber moved from riff-rock to psych-balladry with grace.
The next time Black Mountain comes to town (if they ever do?), be prepared for a trip you won't forget. And more riffs then you can shake a fist at. END