The Black Angels at the Beachland, v2.0


There's a certain transcendence I reach under the correct conditions of alcohol, volume, and other undetermined factors.  I almost got there last night.  Almost - but not quite.

I first saw the Black Angels at the Beachland over three years ago.  I had only a passing familiarity with their recorded output and was on the fence about going to the show.  I did, I enjoyed it immensely, and the group became one of the columns supporting my developing fondness for low-fi retro indie rock.  The genre reminds me of the searing, overdriven stride of Weld-era Neil Young and the big blues-rock bands I listened to in college.

Maybe it was a case of high expectations.  Maybe it was my ears; I've been seeing a doctor about wax buildup.  Maybe alcohol, as in not enough of it - the show was sold out and it was crowded enough that if I'd gone to the bar, I wouldn't have been able to get back to the spot where I could see the band well.  I can't blame the venue; even at its worst, the sound is good and the concertgoers are well behaved.

That transcendence, that sudden and radical shift of perspective, is why I go see live music.  It's an epiphany machine.  I get stuck, and I need all the help I can get to see the proverbial forest.  It honestly doesn't matter if the music is atonal classical pieces, or bluegrass, or metal, or something I'd actually choose to put on.  It's allowing myself to be carried along with it that sheds all my assumptions and preconcieved notions, showing me the world fresh, as if after a spring rain.  Or maybe it's just vibrating my synapses loose.

I'll keep trying.