There were cops everywhere, man. It was like The Spin had driven straight into every stoner's worst nightmare: cops, roadblocks, flashing lights at every pass, cranes with spotlights pointed at the middle of the street. Wait, what the hell was a spotlight doing on a crane in the middle of the street? We knew the Republicans did well in recent elections, but this was downright Orwellian. We just wanted to see Black Mountain, man. Hang out at Mercy Lounge and enjoy our Thursday, man. But Johnny Law and his shiny cop lights were harshing our mellow.
Ends up it was some independent movie-film named Fireball — not to be confused with Fireball XL5, the classic puppets-on-a-spaceship show — so good for them, making their movie with, y'know, real equipment and permits and shit. We were torn between cheering our local film scene and bitching about the absolute clusterfuck of a parking situation it caused. The movie better be fucking awesome, is all we're saying. As we were walking up to Mercy, we saw the parking lot was a little empty, and we began to worry. Was Howard Hughes' making his movie over at the methadone clinic gonna put the kibosh on what should have been a packed show?
Not at all. We got to listen to the first two Black Mountain songs while standing in line, only to get upstairs and find ourselves in a room full of people already getting their rock on. We were honestly surprised to see that so many folks had turned off their black lights and put down their bongs in time to make the early start. But then again, it was the kind of super-psychedelic double bill — Austin's Black Angels were the headliners — that brings the beardos out of the woodwork, and we were more than stoked to head-bang right alongside them.
Black Mountain were on fire, grinding out the monster riffs from their latest album Wilderness Hearts: “Old Fang,” “Roller Coaster,” “Let Spirits Ride” — all the hits. In the five years since we first saw them, they have turned into a live juggernaut — a rumbling, cosmic barrage of heavy sounds like the tidal pull of dark matter on a beach at the edge of the universe. That, or all the slo-mo headbanging we did during their set finally knocked our last screw loose. Either way, we could not have enjoyed ourselves more. They pulled out “Stormy High” from their sophomore album In the Future, and closed with their classic “Don't Run Our Hearts Around." It was a 75-minute journey deep into the heart of rock ’n’ roll, and it ruled.
We've never really been huge fans of The Black Angels. On paper, they should be one of our favorite bands, since they've got all the sound and style we look for in a band, but for some odd reason they've never quite clicked with our wig-dome. Sure, that's some serious psychedelic hair-splitting, but that's how we do. They are a killer live band and we definitely enjoyed their set — by that point in the night the room had basically turned into a college drop-out reunion — but there are other psych bands with the word “black" in their name that we dig more. But whatever — It was a badass double bill, and we're assholes for complaining. We rocked out, we didn't get pinched by the police, and we got home relatively early. All around, an epic win. The parking situation was pretty bullshit, though.