Monday, January 19, 2009

The Blacks Played Rickshaw Stop: Photos, Review

On Thursday night, we had the privilege to stop in at the Rickshaw Stop and check out the final show of The Blacks' "San Francisco Values Tour". Suffice it to say, we were not disappointed. The San Francisco three piece put on a searing live show that ran the gamut from stone cold noise rock to overjoyed audience participation. All the attitude and spunk that can be heard on their recordings is double in the live environment. It was one of those nights when you realize that there are bands who truly deliver, and bands who don't. The Blacks are soundly in the former category.

The Blacks definitely occupy a very distinct niche of sound. To anyone who has sampled their wares (and we recommend that you do), the sound is already pulsing in your head. It's a somewhat droney, somewhat fuzzed out rock sound that somehow delivers apathy and rock at the same time. It's built around steady, driving, drum beats and jangly, reverbed, fuzzed out guitars. To put them firmly in the same camp with The Jesus And Mary Chain would not be inaccurate.

One surprising thing about the band lineup was the instrumentation: We had assumed, perhaps naively, that Luisa would be taking on vocals, with Justin on guitar and Gavin on drums. Such was not the case, as Luisa took on both vocals and all guitar duties, where Justin fulfilled something of a percussionist/backup singer/crowd rouser role. Gavin was, as expected, solidly on drums. The amazing thing was that even given such a sparse lineup, the band delivered a remarkably full live sound: the guitars were waves of layered noise, the drums complex and intricate, and the vocals spot-on.

The highlight of the show came towards the end (does it always?) when the band distributed a drove of tambourines to the crowd, and the whole room became an interactive, percussive romp. At first it was just crowd percussion, but as the band invited everyone on stage, the gig became an all out party. Pair that with a killer cover of Romeo Void's "Never Say Never" to close the show, and well, let's just say that everyone went home extremely happy.

There are a handful of Bay Area bands that are currently on our "must see" list, and after The Blacks' show at Rickshaw on Thursday, they've certainly joined the ranks. They deliver a live show that is all at once incendiary, musically relevant, visually diverse, and most of all - fun. Granted, they've just wrapped their tour, but when you next get a chance to see them, be there.

Many more pictures at the HAD Archive.


Julie Andrews said...

Amazing stuff!

Hanan said...

grr I was debating whether or not to go to this show but I didn't