|If you're lookin' for me, you can find me in the Guinness book.|
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: