Landing in the wake of Brian Jonestown and leading the pack with such comrades as Dead Meadow, the Black Angels have covered a lot of ground since forming in 2004. Fresh off the release of their second full-length album, Directions to See a Ghost, the band stood amidst a mixture of red light, smoke and a 16mm projection of World War II era footage. All reminiscent of a show at the Fillmore in the 60’s, the Black Angels appeared from the darkness to an eagerly awaiting crowd. As the souls in attendance swayed back and forth, the band thundered through their set, showcasing the wonders of the “drone machine,” a must-have contraption that gives off the perfect soundtrack to a head-on collision. Drummer Stephanie Bailey set the tone for the night, beating her kick drum ragged and riding her crash cymbal as if possessed, while the bass lines of Nate Ryan made the bones in your feet hum. Guitarist Christian Bland stared into the rafters while making use of a broken bottle as a slide, unleashing a wave of acid laden riffs piercing over Alex Maas’ death growl. The band holds a fiercely political overtone made more apparent from the great lyrical work in tracks like “The First Vietnamese War,” as the band’s pulse-like rhythms crash and mend with Maas’ tale of bloodshed, leaving me sure on their stance of our current president.
— Carlos Villarreal