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On Friday March 27, I manned the KEXP information table at Neumos for Black Mountain, with opening act The Sadies. As usual, the standard disclaimer applies: although I am a volunteer for KEXP, the opinions expressed in this review and all other posts on this blog are solely mine and do not represent the official views of KEXP.

The Sadies are a rockabilly quartet on guitar and fiddle, guitar, bass viol, and drums, with both guitarists handling vocals. Their set generally alternated between quick surf-rock instrumentals and slightly slower country-rock songs with vocals. They played the first several songs nonstop, but later talked and joked with the audience a bit. About halfway through, they brought out the fiddle for a few more traditional country/folk style songs, before ramping back up to the end. Although I'm generally not too interested in a strong country sound, I did enjoy their set very much. 

The club was packed when Black Mountain began their set, coming out one at a time to join the keyboardist in an extended space-rock jam. The quintet (including vocals, guitar/vocals, guitar, keyboard, and drums), have a classic heavy progressive blues-rock sound, in the style of Led Zeppelin or Blue Öyster Cult. Their heavy grooves and moody tones were matched by the dim red and blue stage lighting. This set mostly featured slow songs that were unfamiliar to me, either from last year's release In The Future or else new ones. They did sound good, but none were compelling enough to make me feel I'm missing out by not yet owning that album. I did enjoy the set closer, "Stormy High", which is from that album and which picked up the tempo and mood a bit. The encore also started slow but broke into a fast driving section, before returning to the slow, keyboard-heavy space-rock jam that ended up feeling a bit indulgent, denying the audience the rock-out finale they were clearly ready for. The whole set was unsatisfying in the end; I know Black Mountain can do better, and I hope to see them do so.

Neumos was so packed that I couldn't get anywhere near the stage during Black Mountain, so I have just a few poor photos of them, but a few more decent ones of the Sadies from the side of the stage; these can be seen starting here in Flickr.


( 1 wrote — Write )
Apr. 19th, 2009 04:46 pm (UTC)
The Sadies are always a surprise. I'm glad you got to see them.
( 1 wrote — Write )

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