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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