Monday 18 April 2016

On Stage: Black Mountain @ Melkweg

Last year I first met Canadian band Black Mountain at the Best Kept Secret Festival and liked their psychorock a lot. They had no record out but were celebrating the 10th anniversary of their self titled debut album. This year they did release a new album IV that sees them exploring psychedelic and stoner rock even more. Time to meet them again!

Black Mountain at Melkweg Amsterdam, April 15 2016

On every album they do have songs that are not completely on par with the rest. Epic long psychedelic jams are followed by somewhat not so interesting rock songs which in the end leave you with mixed feelings. The same goes for their concerts when there are moments in the show where they lose the momentum and your mind starts wandering. This is not the case today at the beginning of the show when they kick off with the IV's epic opening track 'Mothers of the Sun', a long jam that slowly builds off and then hits you with a killer riff. Like on the album it is followed by the rocking 'Florian Saucer Attack'.

When Black Mountain is rocking they are peeking. Big stoner grooves inspired by the mighty seventies rock bands Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin mixed with early Pink Floyd psychedelica. But again now and then the music loses its edge and it can get a bit weary. Singer Amber Webber's voice is strong and really fits the music but like I noticed last year she's not really a charismatic performer. When the band is going into the long instrumental jams she looks lost as if she doesn't knows what to do with herself. The band is in the dark for the first part of the show and has to ask for more light twice.

Stepping out of the dark, you can see they are all totally into the music. Master mind Stephen McBean is sometimes bent over his guitar with his eyes closed, playing his strong riffs or mind blowing solo's. Keyboard player Jeremy Schmidt's part is very important in the band's sound, giving their music its psychedelic edge and especially on the new songs his part seems to be more prominent. But in general I think the band are at their best when they play hard rocking or grooving songs like 'Tyrants', a blues rocker like 'Wilderness Heart' or a slowly building psychedelic long track like '(Over and Over) The Chain' that opens their encore. Of course they end their set on a high with the heavy rocking 'Don't Run Our Hearts Around' showing what makes this band so good. And if they can get over those moments where things go weary it could put them over the top.

All Pictures

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01. Mothers of the Sun
02. Florian Saucer Attack
03. Stormy High
04. Druganaut
05. Cemetery Breeding
06. Tyrants
07. You Can Dream
08. Line Them All Up
09. Wilderness Heart
10. Defector
11. Wucan
12. Space To Bakersfield
13. (Over and Over) The Chain
14. Don't Run Our Hearts Around

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