If you're lookin' for me, you can find me in the Guinness book.
So our friend Angela worked merch for the first time ever Monday night, and Vancouver retro psych-rockers Black Mountain played Vaudeville Mews. A lot of the usual Fong's Pizza crew was hanging out by the merch table, and I got a better look than I usually would've at the band's wares. They were out of their own T-shirts and vinyl records, though they still had CDs for sale and records by side projects Pink Mountaintops and Blood Meridian. I guess this shows two things: (1) Black Mountain's members have too many sludgy grooves for one band and (2) People have been buying Black Mountain T-shirts and LPs.

I don't listen to Black Mountain's albums that often, but they put on a strong live show: "incendiary" guitar solos, banshee vocals, bass player who takes his job seriously and doesn't overplay, drummer who should challenge Zach Hill to a duel on Rock Band (which reminds me, is it OK if I post this? I hope so, because the Vaude's own Clint Curtis is really awesome in it). I always thought of them as super Zeppelin-influenced dudes, but a neighbor I ran into at the show reminded me their more recent work is a lot more varied and atmospheric (this person was enticed to come because he heard an album at the bar next door, the Lift, and couldn't believe it was all the same band-- Bradie, I think this means Ladd owes you $12). Anyway it took a little while to get into their set, and they maybe didn't bring out enough of their layered, textured approach until an airy keyboard section toward the end, but overall I was really feeling how their rumbling riffs and jolting tempo changes played out in a live setting, wreathed by fog machine fog. The place was surprisingly packed, and the cries for an encore were enthusiastic and genuine. "Des Moines is polite," I heard a voice behind me say.

Black Mountain played at least a couple of brand-new songs, about which I unfortunately don't remember much, except that one may have included the lyric, "Your family values have ruined this place," but I didn't write it down so I wasn't confident enough it was right to put it in the subject heading (and besides, it would really be out of place there, anyway, huh?). I've seen the openers, Davenport-based Mondo Drag, a time or two before, and I'm told they opened for the Black Keys in Iowa City, too. Whether Black Mountain or Black Keys, Mondo Drag fit the bill, with some primordial 1970s-rock ooze of their own. I put in earplugs midway during Black Mountain, because I remembered I might need my hearing, but then I took them out again, as I always do, because I remembered I like being able to shout in my friends' ears without worrying the entire bar can hear me. I guess main Black Mountain man Stephen McBean has been playing at Vaudeville Mews since like 2002, before there was a Black Mountain, which is a long time ago, my friends.

I was e-mailed this link to download "The Hair Song," from Black Mountain's upcoming Wilderness Heart. Jagjaguwar. Sept. 14.

Upcoming shows after the jump:
** June Panic, with June Panic's Wife, Love Songs for Lonely Monsters, Nuclear Rodeo, A Knife in a Gunfight. Tuesday, July 27. Vaudeville Mews.

Poppets. Tuesday, July 27. Vaudeville Mews.

The All-Girl Boys Choir, with Squidboy. Sunday, Aug. 1. Vaudeville Mews.

Electric Leaves, with Why Make Clocks. Tuesday, Aug. 3. Vaudeville Mews.

Jamey Johnson. Thursday, Aug. 5. Val Air Ballroom.

** The Delta Mirror, with Golden Veins. Friday, Aug. 6. Vaudeville Mews. 

Black Keys, with Morning Benders. Sunday, Aug. 8. Val Air Ballroom.  

Rooney. Monday, Aug. 9. Vaudeville Mews.

** Phoenix, with Toro Y Moi. Tuesday, Aug. 10. 7 Flags Event Center.  

Netherfriends, with Gabe Cordova, Deep Sleep Waltzing, Bear Country. Tuesday, Aug. 10. Vaudeville Mews.

Keith Urban. Friday, Aug. 13. Iowa State Fair.

The Battle Royale. Saturday, Aug. 14. Vaudeville Mews.

** Richie Daggers Birthday Party with Gadema, Young Tripp, others. Saturday, Aug. 14. Vaudeville Mews.

** Vanilla Ice, with Tone Loc. Sunday, Aug. 15. Iowa State Fair.

** Tennis, with the Land of Blood and Sunshine, Maid Marian, the Seed of Something. Tuesday, Aug. 17. Vaudeville Mews.

** Little Gold. Tuesday, Aug. 17. Vaudeville Mews.

Tegan and Sara. Tuesday, Aug. 17. Hoyt Sherman Place.

Pat Benatar, with REO Speedwagon. Tuesday, Aug. 17. Iowa State Fair.

Broken Spindles. Wednesday, Aug. 18. Vaudeville Mews.

Darius Rucker. Thursday, Aug. 19. Iowa State Fair.

** Tapes 'N Tapes. Friday, Aug. 20. Vaudeville Mews.

Sugarland. Saturday, Aug. 21. Iowa State Fair.

Sheryl Crow. Sunday, Aug. 22. Iowa State Fair.

Why Make Clocks. Saturday, Aug. 28. Vaudeville Mews.

** Christopher the Conquered, with the Poison Control Center and the Atudes. Sunday, Aug. 29. Des Moines Social Club.

Canby. Sunday, Aug. 29. Vaudeville Mews.

Sarah Jaffe. Monday, Aug. 30. Vaudeville Mews.

American Idol Live Tour. Tuesday, Aug. 31. Wells Fargo Arena. 

** Pavement, with the Poison Control Center. Uptown Theater, Kansas City, Mo.

Hot Hot Heat. Tuesday, Sept. 14. Vaudeville Mews.

** Best Coast, with Male Bonding. Friday, Sept. 17. Grinnell College.

All Tiny Creatures, with the Autumn Project, Blutiger Fluss. Friday, Sept. 17. Vaudeville Mews.

Maxilla Blue. Friday, Sept. 24. Vaudeville Mews.

** Scout Niblett, with the Land of Blood and Sunshine. Sunday, Sept. 26. Vaudeville Mews.

** David Dondero, with Darren Hanlon, Derek Lambert. Tuesday, Sept. 28. Vaudeville Mews.

** The Strange Boys, with Gentlemen Jesse and His Men, Natural Child, the Jitz. Friday, Oct. 1. Vaudeville Mews. 

Band of Horses. Friday, Oct. 1. Val Air Ballroom.

Passion Pit. Monday, Oct. 4. Val Air Ballroom.

Joan of Arc. Thursday, Oct. 28. Vaudeville Mews.

Electric Six, with the Constellations, the Jitz. Tuesday, Nov. 2. Vaudeville Mews.


  1. Yeah, great show. Not the type of music I normally listen to but it was thoroughly entertaining. I was surprised at the number of Devo fans who like Black Mountain.

  2. Har, har. Josh reminds me that I forgot to mention another dude and I were both wearing the same Devo T-shirt. This after another dude and our pal Travis were wearing the same "Des Moines, hell yeah" T-shirts at Fong's. People wanted to get a picture of all four of us together, but the second "hell yeah" guy didn't show up at Black Mountain, and Mrs. Des Noise was kind enough to bring my Davila 666 shirt when she arrived a little bit later. I figured it would make things less awkward for both me and the other Devo shirt guy. I had red short sleeves hanging out from under my white short sleeves, so I looked pretty silly either way, I think.

    Anyway, good seeing you yesterday, Josh! Talk soon about Pavement-- maybe catch you Friday?

  3. I am very much hoping to be in attendance.

  4. Sorry I missed you at this show Marc! I'm mainly went because of my girlfriend, having not heard much BM (unfortunate abbreviation) before. I thought they were really good, but some of the riffiness did begin to blend together for me. I enjoyed the keys a lot, though!

  5. Marc it was a Des Moines: Greatest City in the World shirt. Not a Trotteresque Hell Yeah. shirt. So much for journalistic integrity.

  6. Gregory: Yeah, I'm not real heavy into that riffy kind of stuff either, and I don't know if I'd need to see them again, but I was pleasantly surprised, for sure. A much better time than I had expected.

    Travis: Duly noted. I wish I had described your shirt in the actual blog post instead of a comment, so I could edit it and pretend I had never made a mistake. Integrity!