Black Mountain Live at Last

It was late at night and I was on the prowl. My Trans Am scraped the city streets as plumes of purple smoke swept through the t-top. My custom in-dash hi-fi was pumping out Black Sabbath’s Volume IV record at volumes few could withstand, and my mane undulated in the wind like a peroxide windsock.

My built-in double barrel bubbler had carbonized a couple trees and I was feeling alright. Pulled the ‘am up to the valet at the Echo in Echo Park but no vested valet was around so I just killed the engine’s roar at the curb in front and strolled into the club.

Right when I got to the bar, Black Mountain came on stage. There was a denim-clad short-haired bass player, a long hair and beard guitarist playing a Gibson Firebird, a girl singer, and a drummer who also had a full keyboard setup on his left. I couldn’t see him, but I could hear him because he kicked things off with some serious thunder, soon to be joined by a heavy guitar assault and a rock solid bass thumping along with a vengeance.

I was instantly filled with a feeling of love and affection for my fellow man. How could the world be a bad place if Canadians could travel to America to present us with classic rock riffery, male-female vocal tagteaming, extended solos, extreme volume, pounding drums and haunting keys? Black Mountain don’t talk to the crowd much, or dress up in extravagant outfits– they basically do nothing but rock as hard as they can for an hour plus. I was banging my head with the best of them and wanted to start a circle pit but the crowd, while appreciative, wasn’t having it.

Black Mountain are dark and heavy but there’s also something uplifting about their music, which seems to come from the interplay between the lead singer/guitarist and the female vocalist. When those two vibe together and the bass, drums, and keys are locked into some head-banging rhythms, you have to bang your head and scream joyfully at the same time.

I moved up closer to get a better view, and the band went into “Drugganaut” which got the crowd really riled up. Some dudes in the front were singing along and the hot chicks were grinding up and down all over the club. The band seemed in its element and although they didn’t speak much, you could tell they were happy with the turnout and the crowd reaction. I joined the fray and let my mane whip some chicks in front and back of me. They moved away but you know they loved it.

Black Mountain often get compared to classic acts like Black Sabbath, Led Zep, Pink Floyd, etc. There is definitely a touchstone with 70’s proto-metal and the darker side of psychedelic rock… but Black Mountain are original, there is no one on the scene making this kind of music at the moment, and that’s what matters.

I left the venue exhilarated, I wanted to drive around town at top speed and blast music ’til my eardrums bleed… but my ride was nowhere to be seen. ‘Hey man, where’d the valet go to,” I asked the cop at the door. “Haha, ain’t no valet here,” he chuckled. “They towed that cherry ‘am about an hour ago…”

I stuck my hands in my pockets and kicked a can into the street. That’s OK, man, I can have a few more drinks now that I’m free from the wheel anyhow…

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