This is my review of Roky Erickson & the Black Angels Night of the Vampire DVD. Night of the Vampire was released as a Record Store Day indie exclusive on Black Friday, November 26th.
1. Intro into Roky Erickson's "Bo Diddley’s A Headhunter"
2. Collaboration Sequence set to The Black Angels' "Science Killer"
3. Roky Erickson's "Two Headed Dog"
4. Halloween Costume Sequence set to The Black Angels' "Mission District"
5. Roky Erickson's "Night Of The Vampire"
6. Roky Erickson's "You're Gonna Miss Me"
7. Roky Erickson's "Splash 1"
8. Roky Erickson's "Creature With The Atom Brain"
9. Roky Discussion into Encore Sequence set to The Black Angels' "Never Ever"
10. Roky Erickson's "Roller Coaster"
11. Roky Erickson's "Reverberation" over End Credits
Ok, I drove down to my local indie store and purchased this vid. By the way, I was at this show down in the mosh-pit below the stage. See my original review of this show here:
This DVD was worth the dough. The sound is excellent, although, at the concert, Alex Maas’ attempts to sing background vocals against/with Roky were mixed waaaaaaaaaaay down. You couldn’t hear him at the show. On the DVD, his vocalizations with Roky are put at the fore (for the first time) and the songs suffer for it.
Additionally, even though the footage is in glorious color, some douche-bag decided to convert much of it to black and white. I dunno, maybe they thought that they were making some sort of “art statement” or something. I don’t know what goes through people’s minds that do stoopid shit like convert color footage to black and white. You know, you’ve got the real “art statement” standing right there singing his ass off. Watch and learn; try not to jiggle the camera. Don’t try and put your “imprint” on Roky’s work. Enough of his work has suffered from that already.
Finally, the video is something like only 37:00 minutes long. I was at this show and Roky’s set went on a LOT longer than that. This is a DVD. They have the footage. Just put it all out, how simple is that? Additionally, some footage from inside the El Rey Theater would have been nice; the vibe was electric. It was Los Angeles hosting Roky Erickson on Halloween Night 2008.
I dunno, people can’t seem to just put the shit out when it comes to Roky; they gotta fuck with things. Look at Drummond and his Charly cohorts putting compression on all of the 13th Floor Elevators tracks from the masters. Drummond finds the Holy Grail and sits by why they screw the pooch with the project. Look at Stu Cook trying to make an Eighties star out of Roky. Look at Will Sheff of Okkervil River trying to sing over Roky every chance he gets. I don’t know why people do these things.
But, in spite of the above, I really like this DVD and endorse it as an essential part of any Roky Erickson collection. I loved watching it and listening to it through my stereo. I’ve heard rumors about a soundtrack to this concert coming out on LP. Let’s hope that they are true.
“We had the songs ‘Reverberation,’ ‘Rollercoaster’ and ‘Don’t Fall Down’ all typed out, with the chords in a music stand for him to check out while we played with him,” recalls Christian Bland, “We did that several times. We invited him over to play them acoustically, and slowly and surely they started coming back to him. Eventually he didn’t even need the stand, because those songs were definitely in the recesses of his memory. It just took a little push for him to remember them.”
Bland also recalls, “This is the singer that is one of the major influences on why the Black Angels even exist. To be backing him was just such an honor. I remember during the first practice when we started playing ‘You’re Gonna Miss Me,’ he let out that famous scream and the hairs on our necks stood up. Chills ran down our spine. It was an amazing tour, and I honestly think that was the best show from it.”
If you look, you can see me in the audience. I am holding a poster tube. After the gig, Alex Maas got Roky to sign it for me. What a great night! Meeting Roky and Dana at Cantor’s Deli after the show was the icing on the cake.