Yesterday at NX35: The Black Angels at Hailey's Club

Band: The Black Angels

Venue: Hailey's Club
Time: 12:40 a.m.

God bless The Black Angels. Rounding out a four-band bill, the Austin five-piece just leveled a well-attended Hailey's on Day 3. Sporting four new songs from its forthcoming album, this band shows that it had much more mileage left in the tank.

Angels shows always have a hypnotic kind of vibe, given the band's dirge-like drone. So the focus is usually on the trance more than the individual songs. And while there were plenty of guitars that sounded like air-raid sirens and drums that moved like tanks, there was something more going on here.

Maybe it was the strobe light, maybe it was a great sound mix, or maybe the band was just really on, but this was a show that could convert a passive Angels fan into a hardcore fan.

The key was the four new songs: Showing a bouncier kind of light to the band's signature sound, the crowd enjoyed what it heard. Yet the biggest response--not surprisingly--came when the snake-charmer guitar riff to "Young Man Dead" began. Not bad for a 13-song set that lasted an hour.

Of the three other acts, it was opener (and Denton-based) The River Mouth that was most surprising. Given a satisfying set by Matthew and the Arrogant Sea and a rather self-indulgent set by Jack With One Eye, it was The River Mouth that brought a small crowd up-close real early into the night. Sporting a sound described as "a less bluesy Dead Meadow" by a fellow member of the audience, the trio ripped through a droning but driving vibe.

Definitely keep tabs on those guys.

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Eric Grubbs is a Dallas-based writer who has published two books, Post: A Look at the Influence of Post-Hardcore 1985-2007 and When We Were the Kids. His writing has been featured in Punk Planet, Popdose, Fort Worth Weekly, The Dentonite and LA Weekly. He supports Manchester City and will never root for Manchester United.
Contact: Eric Grubbs