BREVIEW: The Black Angels @ O2 Institute 26.09.17

The Black Angels @ O2 Institute 26.09.17 / Rob Hadley – Birmingham Review

 

 

 

Words by  Emily Doyle / Pics by Rob Hadley

London’s self-described ‘sunshine doom’ 5-piece, Mass Datura, serve up a set of melodic prog to begin the evening. But thanks to a surprisingly long queue for entry at the O2 Institute, complete with drug dog patrols outside the venue, their early set is enjoyed by a smaller audience than they deserved.

And while the violin and keys are a little low in the mix, they craft some interesting textures – providing some excellent fodder to ease the crowd into the evening of psych to come (Mass Datura’s debut LP Sentimental Breakdown is out now on All Types of Slime Records, should you want to fall a little deeper down the rabbit hole).

Mass Datura – supporting The Black Angels @ O2 Institute 26.09.17 / Rob Hadley – Birmingham ReviewA Place to Bury Strangers slink onto the stage next, in an unassuming manner; they seem satisfied in the knowledge that the majority of the crowd (this reviewer included) have no idea what is to come. The term ‘wall of noise’ is thrown around all too lightly but in this case it is appropriate; intense strobe lighting marks the start of their set, at 8pm sharp, and does not relent throughout the opening track. Within minutes, some audience members are forced to shield their eyes.

Lia Simone Braswell is one of those rare drummer-come-front person characters. Her kit occupies the front and centre of the stage, a vocal mic arched above her. She is a powerhouse. To her left is Oliver Ackermann of Death By Audio fame, whose distorted vocals cut through the maelstrom;A Place to Bury Strangers – supporting The Black Angels @ O2 Institute 26.09.17 / Rob Hadley – Birmingham Review to her right is Dion Lunadon, who indulges in some bass guitar abuse to rival the Clash’s Paul Simonon – trusting his bass into the crowd while Ackermann holds his guitar aloft, and the noise fades.

Braswell produces an autoharp. She proceeds to play a haunting tune, accompanied by delicate vocals, while Lunadon and Ackermann tune up. A Place to Bury Strangers launch back into the howling punk-rock of 2009’s ‘I Lived My Life to Stand in the Shadow Of Your Heart’ with renewed energy. In my notepad, I write the word ‘onslaught’ a total of three times at different points during their set. A Place to Bury Strangers – supporting The Black Angels @ O2 Institute 26.09.17 / Rob Hadley – Birmingham Review

The lights dim and A Place to Bury Strangers appear to leave the stage, so the crowd migrates towards the bar to refuel before the headline act. Without warning, a driving electronic beat starts up and multi-coloured lasers erupt from a small circle over by the bar; Ackermann has wheeled a flight case into the crowd and the performance continues. Braswell’s aggressive dancing keeps us just far enough back while Lunadon climbs on top of the case, bass guitar in hand. After this extended jam, A Place to Bury Strangers dissolve into the audience once more… The room awaits The Black Angels.

‘Currency’, the opening track from The Black Angels‘ 2017 album, Death Song, is greeted by cheers. The driving two note riff cuts through the O2 Institute’s main room, with what appears to be Beelzebub’s teletext projected onto the back of the stage. The Black Angels exude a quiet, stoic confidence; a stark contrast to the territorial noise-rock of A Place to Bury Strangers. Alex Mass’s shamanic vocals are hypnotic, a perfect counterpoint to the grinding drums from Stephanie Bailey.The Black Angels @ O2 Institute 26.09.17 / Rob Hadley – Birmingham Review

2010’s juddering ‘Bad Vibrations’ lulls the crowd into a comfortable, woozy sway. Everything about The Black Angels’ performance is equally comforting and uneasy; each track is full of the warm, swirling psychedelia of their forebears, but also buzzes with a hint of discord. On stage the band are relaxed, but choose to keep their distance with a complete absence of dialogue.

The Black Angels @ O2 Institute 26.09.17 / Rob Hadley – Birmingham ReviewThe crowd responds with an equally subdued manner; one girl dares to climb onto a friends shoulders to sway along to ‘You On The Run’ and is met by a surprising amount of disapproving British frowns. The Black Angels certainly aren’t in Texas anymore.

After an encore culminating in their breakthrough hit, ‘Young Mean Dead’, the audience files out of the O2 Institute. On my way out the door I run into Martin of Tamworth two-piece You Dirty Blue, eyeing the Death By Audio pedals on A Place to Bury Strangers’ merch stand (I later learn that grinders emblazoned with the slogan ‘Listen To The Black Angels’ were also on offer). On reflection, we both agree that although The Black Angels were as excellent as you would expect, it was A Place to Bury Strangers that were the band of the night.

 

 

 

Mass Datura – supporting The Black Angels @ O2 Institute 26.09.17 / Rob Hadley – Birmingham Review

Mass Datura – supporting The Black Angels @ O2 Institute 26.09.17 / Rob Hadley – Birmingham Review

Mass Datura – supporting The Black Angels @ O2 Institute 26.09.17 / Rob Hadley – Birmingham Review

For more on Mass Datura, visit www.soundcloud.com/mass-datura

________

A Place to Bury Strangers – supporting The Black Angels @ O2 Institute 26.09.17 / Rob Hadley – Birmingham Review

A Place to Bury Strangers – supporting The Black Angels @ O2 Institute 26.09.17 / Rob Hadley – Birmingham Review

A Place to Bury Strangers – supporting The Black Angels @ O2 Institute 26.09.17 / Rob Hadley – Birmingham Review

For more on A Place to Bury Strangers, visit www.aplacetoburystrangers.com

________

The Black Angels @ O2 Institute 26.09.17 / Rob Hadley – Birmingham Review

The Black Angels @ O2 Institute 26.09.17 / Rob Hadley – Birmingham Review

The Black Angels @ O2 Institute 26.09.17 / Rob Hadley – Birmingham Review

The Black Angels @ O2 Institute 26.09.17 / Rob Hadley – Birmingham Review

The Black Angels @ O2 Institute 26.09.17 / Rob Hadley – Birmingham Review

For more on The Black Angels, visit www.theblackangels.com

For more from the O2 Institute, including full event listings and online ticket sales, visit www.academymusicgroup.com/o2institutebirmingham

For more from Kilimanjaro Live, visit www.kilimanjarolive.co.uk

For more from This Is Tmrw, visit www.thisistmrw.co.uk

BPREVIEW: The Black Angels @ O2 Institute 26.09.17

The Black Angels @ O2 Institute 26.09.17

Words by Ed King

On Tuesday 26th September, The Black Angels land in Birmingham at the 02 Institute – performing live, with support from A Place to Bury Strangers + Mass Datura

Doors open at 7pm with tickets priced at £19.50, as presented by Kilimanjaro Live and This Is Tmrw. For direct gig info, including venue details and online ticket sales, click here.

Out on the road with their fifth studio album, Death Song, The Black Angels are in Birmingham as part of only a handful of UK dates on their Death March Tour. Sandwiched in-between a gig in Glasgow and another in Bristol, the O2 Institute in Birmingham is the second date the Texan psych-rockers will be playing in Blighty. Although The Black Angels did play at the Liverpool International Festival of Psychedelia 2017, but who’s going to prove any of that actually happened. Or maybe it never stopped…

Four years since their last LP, Death Song came out on Partisan Records in April this year, with an extensive North American tour introducing the album stateside. A clear hat tip to the Velvet Underground – as in ‘The Black Angel’s Death Song’, from that record they made with that blonde lass – the new album from The Black Angels has been described by Phil Mongredien in The Guardian as a ‘menacing return to form’, further stating the 11 track LP harks back to ‘the threatening drones that made their first two so powerful’.

With a line up that makes the bill sound like a blueprint for Jonestown II, The Black Angels are supported by New York noise-rockers, A Place to Bury Strangers – alongside London’s self described ‘sunshine doom’ four piece, Mass Datura. So a nice quiet night in then… pass the shrooms and absinthe, Franz.

Having munched enough blotter acid to stop a heard of migrating springbok, Google it, I’m not sure another dark spiral is what this piece of psychedelic driftwood needs on a Tuesday.

But with only three dates in the UK, if you want a sneaky quarter of The Black Angels then you’d better get your game face on. Bit of a coup that they’re coming to Birmingham. In the meantime here’s a tiny taste of their new album:

‘Currency’ – The Black Angels

The Black Angels comes to the O2 Institute on 26th September, with support from A Place to Bury Strangers + Mass Datura – as presented by Kilimanjaro Live and This Is Tmrw. For direct gig info, including venue details and online ticket sales, click here. 

For more on The Black Angels, visit www.theblackangels.com 

For more on A Place to Bury Strangers, visit www.aplacetoburystrangers.com

For more on Mass Datura, visit www.soundcloud.com/mass-datura 

For more from the O2 Institute, including full event listings and online ticket sales, visit www.academymusicgroup.com/o2institutebirmingham

For more from Kilimanjaro Live, visit www.kilimanjarolive.co.uk

For more from This Is Tmrw, visit www.thisistmrw.co.uk 

THE GALLERY: Parquet Courts @ O2 Institute 31.08.17

THE GALLERY: Parquet Courts @ O2 Institute 31.08.17/ Phil Drury - Birmingham Review

 

 

 

Words by Helen Knott / Pics by Phil Drury

A lot of bands don’t have one talented frontman, so it seems almost greedy of Parquet Courts to have two.

Andrew Savage is the first to grab your attention, his stern intensity giving him a commanding presence. But mirroring Savage just across the stage is Austin Brown, providing light to counteract Savage’s darkness, jollying things along with the audience and impressing with his laid back vocals.

Parquet Courts begin with a breathless series of songs from their most recent record Human Performance. In chugging opener, ‘Dust’, Brown playfully sings the refrain, “dust is everywhere… sweep!” – an anthem for neat freaks. Human Performance’s title track sees Savage at his most vulnerable, narrating a relationship from beginning to end, crooning verses alternated with howling choruses. The lyrics are gorgeous and it’s quite simply their best song.

A languid version of ‘Captive of the Sun’ is missing the zip (and rapping abilities) of recent collaborator Bun B, but ‘Berlin Got Blurry’ is dependably catchy, with Savage’s delivery reminiscent of the Hold Steady’s Craig Finn. That’s definitely a compliment.

The second half of the set draws more from the band’s older material. Short, punky songs like ‘Light Up Gold II’ are ideal for moshing, but lack the subtleties of some of their better songs. The set ends back where we started, with a track from Human Performance; ‘One Man, No City’ moves from a lo-fi vibe to heavy rock drums and squealing guitars, then seamlessly back again.

It’s a fitting close for tonight’s Parquet Court‘s gig, showcasing the best aspects of one of the most compelling bands, and two of the best frontmen, around.

Ed’s note… Check out some of Phil Drury’s shots of both Parquet Court and their support act, Ultimate Painting. Some real beauts below, but click here for the Full Flickr of Pics or on the relevant links.  

Parquet Courts @ O2 Institute 31.08.17/ Phil Drury – Birmingham Review

THE GALLERY: Parquet Courts @ O2 Institute 31.08.17/ Phil Drury - Birmingham Review

THE GALLERY: Parquet Courts @ O2 Institute 31.08.17/ Phil Drury - Birmingham Review

THE GALLERY: Parquet Courts @ O2 Institute 31.08.17/ Phil Drury - Birmingham Review

THE GALLERY: Parquet Courts @ O2 Institute 31.08.17/ Phil Drury - Birmingham Review

THE GALLERY: Parquet Courts @ O2 Institute 31.08.17/ Phil Drury - Birmingham Review

THE GALLERY: Parquet Courts @ O2 Institute 31.08.17/ Phil Drury - Birmingham Review

THE GALLERY: Parquet Courts @ O2 Institute 31.08.17/ Phil Drury - Birmingham Review

THE GALLERY: Parquet Courts @ O2 Institute 31.08.17/ Phil Drury - Birmingham Review

___________

Ultimate Painting – supporting Parquet Courts @ O2 Institute 31.08.17 / Phil Drury – Birmingham Review

THE GALLERY: Ultimate Painting – supporting Parquet Courts @ O2 Institute 31.08.17 / Phil Drury - Birmingham Review

THE GALLERY: Ultimate Painting – supporting Parquet Courts @ O2 Institute 31.08.17 / Phil Drury - Birmingham Review

THE GALLERY: Ultimate Painting – supporting Parquet Courts @ O2 Institute 31.08.17 / Phil Drury - Birmingham Review

THE GALLERY: Ultimate Painting – supporting Parquet Courts @ O2 Institute 31.08.17 / Phil Drury - Birmingham Review

THE GALLERY: Ultimate Painting – supporting Parquet Courts @ O2 Institute 31.08.17 / Phil Drury - Birmingham Review

THE GALLERY: Ultimate Painting – supporting Parquet Courts @ O2 Institute 31.08.17 / Phil Drury - Birmingham Review

THE GALLERY: Ultimate Painting – supporting Parquet Courts @ O2 Institute 31.08.17 / Phil Drury - Birmingham Review

THE GALLERY: Ultimate Painting – supporting Parquet Courts @ O2 Institute 31.08.17 / Phil Drury - Birmingham Review

For more on Parquet Courts, visit www.parquetcourts.wordpress.com

For more on Ultimate Painting, visit www.ultimatepainting.band

_____________

For more from O2 Institute, including full event listings and online ticket sales, visit www.academymusicgroup.com/o2institutebirmingham

For more from Goldenvoice, visit www.goldenvoice.com

For more from This Is Tmrw, visit www.thisistmrw.co.uk

BPREVIEW: Parquet Courts @ O2 Institute 31.08.17

Parquet Courts @ O2 Institute 31.08.17

Words by Helen Knott

On Thursday 31st August, Parquet Courts play the O2 Institute in Digbeth. Doors open at 7pm, with tickets priced at £17 plus booking fee – as presented by Goldenvoice and This Is Tmrw. For direct gig information, including full venue details and online ticket sales, click here.

Parquet Courts’ show at the O2 Institute continues their tour in support of last year’s Human Performance – the Brooklyn band’s third studio album and the first to be released on Rough Trade Records. This is one of five UK dates in the run-up to a performance at End of the Road Festival in September.

Human Performance received a warm critical reaction on its release, causing Rolling Stone magazine to describe them as “the most exciting young rock band in America”, heir apparent to groups like Television, Pavement and the Velvet Underground.

This article marked a culmination of the steady momentum the band has been building since they formed in 2010. Birthed in the grassroots of the New York DIY scene – even now Parquet Courts avoid running a Twitter feed or Facebook page – the band has an ethos of rejecting digital marketing in favour of old fashioned physical releases, homemade print and frequent touring.

Front man Andrew Savage is an important aspect of this DIY mentality, designing the artwork for their records and flyers, and taking the unusual step of advertising the release of Human Performance through a wall mural in Brooklyn. But don’t think that Parquet Courts are all style and no substance; Savage’s songs have led Pitchfork to describe him as ‘one of the best rock lyricists of his generation’. And whilst that might sound like hyperbole he is arguably one of the more captivating indie lyricists around, pedaling words often sardonic, occasionally touching, but always compelling.

Andrew Savage is ably supported by the band’s other songwriter and guitarist, Austin Brown, bassist Sean Yeaton, and his brother Max on drums. When it works the resulting tumbling guitar lines and duel vocals are twitchy art-punk at its best.

Parquet Courts‘ live shows can be a potent mix of abrupt one-minute tracks and extended jam rock-outs; if they reach anything like the heights of this wonderful version of ‘Stoned and Starving’ from 2013 record Light Up Gold the O2 Institute crowd are in for a raw, and rather exciting, evening.

‘Stoned and Starving’ – Parquet Courts

‘Human Performance’ – Parquet Courts

Parquet Courts play at the O2 Institute on Thursday 31st August – as presented by Goldenvoice and This Is Tmrw for Direct gig info, including venue details and online ticket sales, click here.

For more on Parquet Courts, visit www.parquetcourts.wordpress.com

For more from O2 Institute, including full event listings and online ticket sales, visit www.academymusicgroup.com/o2institutebirmingham

_____________

For more from Goldenvoice, visit www.goldenvoice.com

For more from This Is Tmrw, visit www.thisistmrw.co.uk