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Last Night: The Black Angels at Warehouse Live

The Black Angels Warehouse Live November 29, 2007

Better Than: Sitting in a sauna at the gym, reading NME

Download: “Black Grease

Austin natives the Black Angels are the kind of band you want playing behind as you drive to your soon-to-be ex’s house to render the relationship asunder. Or hide the body.

Last night at Warehouse Live, the Alex Maas-fronted drone-core group played to a mostly sloshed and slinky crowd. We can owe all that to the venue’s near inhuman liberal pour in every drink. The show was inside the Studio, the Warhol-baiting smaller room, made just for bands like the Angels. With films projected on the wall behind the band, the music sometimes became the soundtrack for the scenes, which dealt with topics from the Native American plight to, oddly enough, beekeepers.

Some bands use reverb like a garnish to a fine hearty steak. But to the Angels, the tone is the main course, the dessert and a stiff drink afterward. On tracks like “Empire,” the set opener, you could feel the band descending like a fog, not unlike the low-lying clouds we all braved on the way to show. The drums, laden with a tom-heavy gallop, sounded like a ghostly Civil War army slowly filing past. By the time we heard “The First Vietnamese War,” those who weren’t swaying slowly in their leather jackets were sitting in quiet stoned-out reverence.

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The Black Angels are epic on a miniature scale, and that’s nothing against their music or presence. Sometimes epic things don’t have to be inside huge arenas or football stadiums. Sometimes the vastness of a band’s sound can be heard in a small room in the middle of Old Chinatown.

Personal Bias: I’m a fan of sweet beards, and Alex Moss has a good one

Random Detail: Keyboardist Jennifer Raines call her instrument a drone machine

By the Way: Warehouse really knows how to pour. -- Craig Hlavaty

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