The timing couldn't have been better. The Black Angels' first ever gig in Greece came at a time when "Indigo Meadow", their fourth and probably best album, appears all the more frequently in the various "Best of the Year" lists of local blogs and sites (it’s certain to pop up in our forthcoming list as well) and their popularity has risen to an unpredictable peak.
Actually, the psychedelic sounds of the Austin, Texas, band seem to have found proportionally much greater favor with the rock audience of Greece than with those of other countries. The proof came when their Athens’ gig at Fuzz Club, became sold out a week in advance and tickets started exchanging hands at inflated prices outside the venue on Wednesday night. Take into account the country’s economic state and the fact that the club’s capacity is a bit bigger than that of London’s Electric Ballroom where the band played earlier in the year and you get a clear picture of The Black Angels’ popularity in Greece right now.
The almost two hour gig that we witnessed when we finally made it into the venue covered a lot of ground, introducing The Black Angel’s older material to their new fans and including several highlights from the more pop oriented but no less psychedelic "Indigo Meadow" ("Don't Play with Guns". "Holland", "Evil Things", "I Hear Colors (Chromaesthesia)" and of course the title track).
Their performance opened with "The Sniper at the Gates of Heaven", a track off their 2006 debut album "Passover" that channels the heavy sound of '60s psych rock and continued with the musically and thematically similar "Broken Soldier" off "Indigo Meadow", one of their new songs that show that although the band’s sound has evolved over time with the inclusion of influences from other decades ("Don't Play with Guns", for example, brings to mind The Jesus And Mary Chain’s "Blues from a Gun"), their roots remain firmly planned in the psychedelic '60s.
Their main set reached its climax with two more tracks from the band’s past, the majestic "Bad Vibrations" off 2010’s "Phosphene Dream" and "Young Men Dead", "Passover"’s powerful opening track (and my personal introduction to the band all those year’s ago). For the three-track encore we were treated with extended versions of "Black Grease", "Manipulation" and "Black Isn't Black", a fittingly "black" themed ending to an exceedingly colorful psych rock performance.
The Black Angels's set list from the Athens show:
And a couple of photos, courtesy of Nikos, from the band's performance the following night at Thessaloniki's Principal Club:
The Black Angels - Indigo Meadow (live @ Fuzz Club, Athens, Dec. 4, 2013)
The Black Angels - Evil Things (live @ Principal Club, Thessaloniki, Dec. 5, 2013)