Story, photos and video by: Kurt Johnson
On Tuesday, November 9th, 2021, The Black Angels headlined at Portland, Oregon’s Revolution Hall. Opening for the Black Angels was L.A. Witch. Both turned in hard hitting and thought swirling performances that rocked the crowd and filled the house on a weeknight show date. The Black Angels were touring in support of their most recent album, 2017’s “Death Song”, their fifth studio album. They originally formed in 2004 and have released five full length CD’s/Albums, four EP’s and nine singles over the years. They specialize in Psych Rock and are from Austin, Texas. The band’s current line-up is Alex Maas on vocals, bass and organ/drone machine, Stephanie Bailey on drums and percussion, Christian Bland on guitar, and drone machine/organ, Jake Garcia on guitar, and Ramiro Verdooren on keys, bass and guitar. All are multi-instrumentalists. The band’s performance was driving with mind-bending grooves and at times with spooky rhythms and beats. The synchronized lighting show was timed to cause an explosion of focused bright lighting during music hi-lights. There is a reason this is called Psych Rock and The Black Angels define and epitomize exactly what this genre and sound is. The crowd was compelled and mesmerized by the grooves and flows and captured the listeners rapt attention. There really is nothing quite like their sound. This writer was compelled to purchase one of their albums (vinyl record, of course) to take home as a souvenir for the wife. Her reaction to their sound was this, “It’s not much good if you want quiet contemplation, but for slammin’, poundin’, hard-ass housework it’s the thing!
(THE BLACK ANGELS PICS)
The show took place at Portland’s Revolution Hall. Revolution Hall is a converted high school that has been turned into a fully modern entertainment destination venue. It was originally constructed in 1906 s Eastside High, then later renamed in 1909 as Washington High School after a fire. The school was closed in 1981 due to declining enrollments. The building sat mostly vacant until it was purchased from the city in 2013. The building has been completely rebuilt and now houses bars, offices, a café along with its famous auditorium. In addition, there is a rooftop terrace for exceptional views of the city. Moving about within the old high school was like a blast from the past. Lugging my heavy cameras up and down the stairs was just like hauling an armload of heavy books between classes! The venue takes every opportunity to honor the school’s history by such things as the historic gallery on the third floor and all security members wearing shirts that say “Hall Monitor”. The concert hall brings you back to when there might have been a high school play or chorus performing. Just like during school days!The venue hosts all kinds of entertainment including stand-up comedy, full rock show, singer-songwriters, orchestral events to blues, Latin and private events.
(CROWD AND VENUE PICS)
Opening for The Black Angels was L.A. Witch. L.A. witch is a four-piece Garage/Psych rock band that mixes bits of blues, surf and hard rock music. The crowd fell under their spell and quickly began swaying and grooving to their hard-edged sound. L.A. Witch is touring in support of their newest release, “Play With Fire”.
(L.A. WITCHES PICS)
You can see more of The Black Angels at their website: theblackangels.com
You can see more of L.A. Witch at their website: facebook.com/lawitches