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Thursday, November 6, 2008

Roky Erickson and the Black Angels - Great American Music Hall

roky erickson and the black angels
Posted over on the Golden Dawn group:
wayne hawes dhawes2...@yahoo.com:

Roky show at Great American Music Hall....

So Brian Vaughan and I caught the Roky Erickson and the Black Angels show at the Great American Music Hall last night. The place holds 470 people, and at 9:10 the guy at the entrance said the place was very close to reaching capacity.

Great show. I will give a review of sorts later, but I am being slammed currently by work and a big paralegal class assignment.

The Great American Music Hall is a former light opera hall - - either pre or post SF earthquake of 1906. They don't make buildings like this anymore - - with ornate decorative art, in the art nouveau style. Great place to see a gig. A mini Fillmore.

It was stunning to see how young the crowd was. Grey hairs left over from the hippie heyday were a very small minority.

I didn't know that Roky Erickson was so big among the younger artist/ alternative rock crowd, but it was like the cognoscenti of San Francisco's young art students showed up for the gig.

You go to a Moby Grape gig - - you all know that I am a huge Moby Grape fan and former associate of Skip Spence (in his later years) - - and you see lots of old grey hairs that after the gig come up to band members like lead guitarist Jerry Miller, and go, "hey Jerry, great to see you! It's been years!" Moby Grape was THE biggest band in San Francisco in the summer of 1967, the talk of the town. But a Grape show today doesn't draw the younger crowd in large numbers.

But for Roky Erickson? It was hundreds of young twenty somethings - - including a generous dose of young hotties.

Roky was great. Kiloh is right. The Dark Angels provide the psychedelic atmosphere of the authentic Elevators. I never have seen Roky before, so I can't speak regarding the Explosives. But if Kiloh's description about The Explosives is correct, they would be too polished and clean to provide the proper atmosphere for the Elevator material.

Although their sound would perhaps be appropriate for Roky's later work. Anyone who has listened to TEO or "The Evil One" knows how clean and polished (and unpsychedelic) those studio recordings were. Really new wave in feel.

Last night I really felt like I went back in time to Austin in 1966. Especially in the pocket opera hall atmosphere of the Great American Music Hall.

Great show. And Roky is in premiere shape! Sang very well, had his stage presence and band timing down - - and even did a searing blues solo on this one blues number.

Roky seems to have gotten religion of late too - - perhaps one of the reasons for his remarkable recovery. One of the two blues numbers had lines about "Jesus is Coming to Earth Soon," and "Because the Bible says so..."

Brian and I got to talk at some length after the show with one of the guitarists in the Dark Angels, by the name of Christian. Great guy.

The lead singer of the Black Angels had that jug sound down too. Great work!

So Roky was especially good on "You're Gonna Miss Me" and "Splash 1" from the first Elevators album. I fell in (unrequited) love in the spring of 1979 to the soundtrack of this song, so it was very evocative for me.

Roky had a tougher time with the very demanding high range of the vocal for the opening song "Two Headed Dog." That is a very difficult song to sing, with its high range, and so Roky had to drop to a lower range, which lost a little of the song's power.

Anyway, I did a review of sorts after all.

Douglas Hawes San Jose, CA

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