Black Angels -Manchester Roadhouse -21.5.08

The UK press are barely affording the Black Angels grace, choosing rather to salivate over the latest drug addled looser than concentrate on those delivering the ‘goods’. And currently goods of this kind are rare. Stumbling first on these Kentucky lads over a year ago supporting the Black Keys ( (who coincidentally visit the Academy tonight) The Black Angels not only impressed, they defined a sound that was and still is, fast addling. That sound includes musical grates such as the Warlocks, Spacemen 3 and Brian Jonestown massacre at one end of the spectrum and the more poppy sounds of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and even Oasis at the other.
As they take stage tonight, a little late, the juddering thud of ‘Young Men Dead’ tipped more towards the poppy anthem end of their repertoire, is worth the wait. Culminating in a mantra style throb like Ade Blackburn (clinic) singing ‘Who Feels Love’ (Oasis) it manages to gather momentum without being lost in the ‘drone’.

Which is where The Black Angels excel above their peers, bands like the Warlocks although masters of their art never rise above their heavy hippy drone façade. ‘Take Sniper at the gates of heaven’ again, drenched in lurching feedback, an attack the warlocks would be happy to employ the full duration, however the ‘angels are hinged differently, sparking the song with impetus and verve. Its all still very trippy, but musically and lyrically its far beyond other piers such as Anton (BJM) could dream of.

‘You on The Run’ of particular note has the essence of Brian Jonestown yet manages to create more stability through an aggressive presence.  There are moments when they’re balanced precariously between psychedelic dreamscape and pretentious dribble (Science Killer) yet fundamentally what tonight’s performance amounts to is more than the sum of their peers. The pop mastery of BRMC, the credible drone of The Warlocks and the vocals and lyrics of Clinic, its all there.
Daniel Pratley

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