It's been almost 4 years since we've last seen Black Mountain, the pride of British Columbia, and it's been over 10 years since we first heard them, but there was no time better than last night to finally catch up with them again.
We had never heard of opener Majeure before and had no idea what to expect, but we certainly didn't expect a solitary drummer to come on stage and play a full set of drum solos. I mean, how many ideas can one drummer have?
A lot as it turns out. Majeure played three songs, each accompanied by different recorded backgrounds. The first was a tape of some very tribal sounding percussion, second was a synthy EDM track, and I don't even remember the third. But Majeure dominated each piece with aggressive and interesting drumming, and provided an exciting and unusual start to the evening.
Black Mountain didn't waste much time taking the stage after Majeure. They opened, as we suspected, with their new anthem, Mothers of The Sun, the opener of their recent album IV, and followed that with an urgent version of Florian Saucer Attack, the second track off IV, played at breakneck speed.
The set leaned heavily on their new album, which is fine as it's as good as anything they've recorded, but they also played their other material as well, following Florian Saucer Attack with Stormy High from 2008's In The Future.
As usual, Amber Webber provided dead-perfect backup and lead vocals, and even conrtributed some guitar playing as well.
Black Mountain managed to fit Roller Coaster from Wilderness Heart (2010) into their set as well as Wucan from In The Future, and they closed their encore with Don't Run Our Hearts Around from their 2005 debut LP, but more than any other Black Mountain show I've seen, their performance really was a showcase for Stephen McBean's guitar playing, which was great because he was playing with fire.
Here's a clip from his guitar solo during the regular-set closer Space To Bakersfield:
With all the extended solos and ambitious set list, Black Mountain played for nearly two hours, but the time and space lost all relative meaning during their psychedelic set. It was a loud, wonderful night, and I hope it's not another 4 years before we hear these folks again.