Black on Black: Angels vs Rebels @ The Wiltern, 8 May 2007
I really like B.R.M.C. I’ve seen them a few times; most notably at Spaceland for an acoustic benefit show. They’re extremely talented guys. They just need to decide on what their sound is. This was made very apparent at the Wiltern last night. I’ll get to that later, though.
Now, I’m sure that a lot of people were disappointed at the fact that The Fratellis couldn’t make it last night. I was tooâ€¦initially. That was until The Black Angels were slated to replace them. Words simply can’t do them justice, but believe me I’ll try. First off, if you don’t have their album Passover I demand that you run to Amoeba, click on your iTunes music store, or illicitly download it immediately. It is a must own if you’re a fan of raw, brooding, psychedelic rock n roll. If bands like The Doors, Velvet Underground, and even B.R.M.C. make you cream, this band will tickle your fancy to no end. The track-list and tone of their album makes it seems that this band has not only been inspired by 60’s psychedelia, but the Vietnam War(!)
As soon as the Angels took the stage I knew the crowd was in for some no frills tribal rock. They stormed through their set, which included most of the songs from their album, with ease that I liken to seasoned professionals. Not a band that has one EP and LP. As I looked around my section, I could see feet thumping to their tribal and psychedelic fervor. As I sang along, more than a few people around me asked who they were and what their story was. Granted, I already have my tix to their Troubadour show on June 1, so I had no problem promoting that word of mouth. Upon the closing of their set, I looked to my friend, and as I suspected, his mouth was agape. He was a little perturbed that I hadn’t mentioned them to him before, but I made my amends by buying him a nice and overpriced Heineken.
While smoking outside, I couldn’t help but thinking how on earth would B.R.M.C be able to follow thatâ€¦the answer was simple. They couldn’t.
I have mixed feelings about B.R.M.C.’s new album. It seems that they’re trying to mix they’re styles together. It doesn’t work for me. I thought they were just O.K. years ago. Just an average alt-rock band. Then Howl came out, and I got extremely interested. Almost obsessed even. Their “folk-stomp” sound was music to my ears. The “Weapon of Choice” single came out about a month ago, and I wasn’t thrilled. Didn’t hate it. Didn’t love it. After a few listens to the new album, Baby 81, I was left kind of scratching my head. Being the concert junky that I am, though, I still wanted to see them.
They came to the stage with The Doors’ “My Wild Love” playing over the PA. I thought to myself, “This would’ve been a great pre-curser to The Black Angels set”. Opening up with “Took Out a Loan”, I instantaneously got bored. Was it the thrill of The Black Angels still in me, or was it the lackluster song that B.R.M.C. chose to open with? I honestly say it was a bit of both. They followed with a few more new tunes and went right into stuff from the pre-Howl era. Much of the first hour of their set went like that. I began to lose it from boredom. As did people around me. It seemed as if they were saving all their Howl songs for towards the end. I started to wonder why? Could it be that they were saving the best of their catalog for last? Of course it could. Personally I can’t get behind that train of thought. If you’re a band that has four albums out, only one of which was a “real” success, you really need to mix it up a bit. The wealth of the Howl material wound up coming after the encore. After a lot of people had left. Why did they leave? Probably the same reason I wanted to: they were bored. Plain and simple. Granted, this is L.A., and L.A. folks don’t give out that much excitement at shows usually. They’re too interested in looking and acting cool for no reason whatsoever, but still, I feel like if enthusiasm is warranted, enthusiasm is what we’ll see at shows.
I stuck it out till the end because I truly do like this band. I just feel they need to make a decision. Alt-rock or Folk-stomp. I personally feel like these two styles cannot be married. I’m all for being proven wrong. I just need to see the proof.