The Black Angels Live Review: The Vogue

The Black Angels, Hanni El Khatib, & Wall of Death at The Vogue in Indianapolis, IN, May 07, 2013. Tuesdays are the new Mondays.  Mondays have become a fourth weekend day for many.  Wednesday is still Hump Day.  Thursday is the day everyone gets ready for the weekend.  Nothing happens on Tuesday…except for a great show at the Vogue on Tuesday May 7th of 2013.

Wall of Death, a French psychedelic rock band, warmed up the appreciative crowd (which was refreshingly low on hipsters) with their creepy rock that sneaks up on you and then whispers something in your ear that causes you to see demons, angels, or both walking down the street and making your latte.  I saw them at the Austin Psych Fest and they were good there as well.  They’re even better in a dimly lit small venue.

Up next at the plate were Hanni El Khatib and his band.  I enjoyed his debut album, Will the Guns Come Out, and was looking forward toaseeing him live and hearing new material from his second album Head in the Dirt.  Holy crap.  HEK, as he is known on his merch table shirts, is one of the best rockers touring right now.  This is not hyperbole.  You must see this guy and his band live.  Tracks like “Nobody Move,” “Family,” “Fuck It, You Win,” and his cover of Louis Armstrong’s “I’ll Be Glad When You’re Dead, You Rascal You” will knock your teeth down your throat.  On top of that, he’s a nice chap who chatted up fans for a while after the show.

The Black Angels are one of my favorite bands, and I love seeing them in intimate venues like the Vogue.  They were, as always, great.  They opened with “Vikings,” a creepy slow burner, before blasting through killer tracks like “Don’t Play with Guns, “Entrance Song,” “Telephone,” “Indigo Meadow,” and “Black Grease.”  It was back to lovely psychedelic trip-out stuff like “Yellow Elevator #2” and “Haunting at 1300 McKinley” after that.  The band seemed to be having a good time, cracking a couple jokes and even ribbing each other a bit.  Lead singer Alex Maas smiled throughout the whole show.  Stephanie Bailey, the band’s drummer and secret weapon, brought thunder into the building.  She was as loud, accurate, and deadly as a Gatling gun behind her kit.  They performed “Black Isn’t Black” (from their new album Indigo Meadow) for their encore, and it was perfect.  Alex Maas sang while Kyle Hunt laid down the bass track.  Lead guitarist Christian Bland and new second guitarist (whose name I never learned, but he and Mr. Bland were nice enough to sign my tour poster) came out next to add two more powerful layers, and then Ms. Bailey got behind the kit to add the cherry bomb on top of the psychedelic parfait they’d created.  It was a dead, solid perfect way to end the show and the night.

~ Nik Havert

Nik Havert is a writer, DJ, harmonica player, martial arts instructor, comic book publisher, crime fighter,music lover, cult movie enthusiast, and modern day Renaissance man.  He hopes to shark cage dive sometime in the next few years and enjoys travel and good natural root beer. Visit his web site at http://www.picklepress.net. 

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