The Casbah is one of the few places in San Diego where you can pee next to rock stars and hang out with the band backstage, aka, the sidewalk. Vancouver band Black Mountain began their show with IV’s opener "Mothers of the Sun,” an eight-minute track that shows off the band’s psychedelic sludge and atmospheric overtones caused by an array of keyboards and pedals that had a Tuesday-night crowd transfixed.
I discovered Black Mountain by way of Tony Hawk’s Project 8 video game in 2006, before Spotify and Pandora were there to show me what was “hip.” Black Mountain’s spacey, colorful tones mess with your head, and at times you forget where you are. Amber Webber's operatic vocals and Stephen McBean’s flashy guitar solos pierce through a daydream soundtrack of thudding drums, heavy bass, and a thick curtain of synth and keyboard backdrops.
The quintet has been around for more than ten years, so you would expect precision and professionalism, which Black Mountain executes without the boredom that some veteran bands communicate. For instance, the generous embellishment of “Space to Bakersfield,” a nine-minute musical tragedy held together by claustrophobic instrumentals on the record, but onstage, it became a monstrous, all-out jam.
Whether it was the intimacy of the room or a contact high from the entranced crowd, Black Mountain delivered an inspired performance.
- Concert: Black Mountain
- Seats: General (stage right)
- Date: April 26
- Venue: Casbah