» Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]


 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]


 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum

February 11, 2008
If you stumbled into Tuscon's storied Hotel Congress on Saturday night, you would be forgiven for thinking that the year was 1978. That is, once you got past the historical photos of John Dillinger and his Gang - who was captured after a stay at the Hotel in 1934 - and made your way to the sounds wafting out of the Club in the back. The thirty-year flashback could easily be understood, over the weekend at least, for on the stage Saturday night were two excellent bands, throwing it back to two distinct musical eras. Blood on the Wall and Black Mountain had all the pure punk and stoner metal bases covered; and if you were drug-addled to boot, you may have even caught a famed Hotel Congress ghost.

With the sole assistance of some cheap Americana beer, I can at least attest to a few ghosts-of-musical-past flitting by in the periphery. Opening act Blood on the Wall splattered fast driving power punk like only a raw trio can. The Brooklyn-via-Kansas band pulled out the stops, on this, their first tour stop with Black Mountain. Boy-girl vocals alternated between guitarist and bassist, who are brother and sister; when Courtney Shanks sang, the band recalled the early years of power punkers Sleater-Kinney, who themselves were bringing it back. Brad Shanks, on the other hand, didn't so much sing as he did shriek, in that classic Sid Vicious way: function over form. Blood on the Wall fired up the growing crowd, and were very gracious, which I always find refreshing; for a band with such an ominous name, they proved that you should always check your preconceptions at the door, at least when heading into your favorite indie rock club.

Black Mountain sauntered on stage and wasted no time delving into material from their excellent new Jagjaguwar release, In The Future, opening the set with the hazy "Stormy High." Unlike its predecessor, their largely slept-on eponymous 2005 debut, the band's latest album is entirely Seventies glory, and the group's live show flies the flag like a Led Dead Airplane. For a band nodding to the future, the Vancouver quintet pays an awful lot of homage to the past. Female lead singer Amber Webber channels Grace Slick, while her co-vocalist and guitarist Stephen McBean conjures up the spirit of [insert stoner Seventies lead guitarist here]. The band is rife with musical talent, and McBean's licks are a thing of clarity and beauty. Due must also be paid to bassist Matt Camirand and organist Jeremy Schmidt, for their superb roles as anchor and mast alike.

After an hour of jamming on most of In The Future, I began to sorely miss some of the crackling pop gems off Black Mountain's excellent debut, such as "Modern Music" and "No Satisfaction." Including a few numbers from their back catalogue would've broken up the set's flow, which was becoming somewhat stagnant by night's end, and also served to show a different side of the band. Heck, even the free-flowing ballad "Stay Free," from the group's current release, would've been a nice change of pace; alas, Black Mountain kept it under wraps. But such observations are small gripes for such a convivial bunch of musicians, who did their parents proud by thanking the near-full house after every song. In a way, Black Mountain brought the best of British Columbia to the desert: crisp, clean, refreshing music, laced with plenty of kindness, and perhaps a few bong rips.

SEE ALSO: www.blackmountainarmy.com
SEE ALSO: www.jagjaguwar.com
SEE ALSO: www.bloodonthewall.com
SEE ALSO: www.hotelcongress.com

Ari Shapiro
A staff writer for LAS, Ari Shapiro mixes up pretty unique smoothies at XOOM in hot Tucson.

See other articles by Ari Shapiro.



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