Vancouver’s Black Mountain rounded off their UK tour by playing a monster of a set at Rough Trade last week which lasted nearly an hour! Many of the songs off the new album, IV, take their time to progressively build and gradually develop each layer of sound before the track shifts step-wise to the next layer of different yet complimentary and subtly connected elements. Jeremy Schmidt’s spacey synthesiser intertwines with rolling prog guitar riffs, before Stephen McBean’s powerful guitar solos crash on the entranced audience like storm waves on a rocky shore before receding to reveal the etherial vocals of lead singer Amber Webber.
The soundscapes this band produce meld 70’s prog (with, to my ear at least, more than a gentle nod to Pink Floyd and Black Sabbath) with stoner rock. Live, the combination makes for an incredibly intense musical experience and despite Black Mountain’s set being longer than most played at an RT in-store, time seemed to both fly by, and stand still.
Black Mountain completely fill the stage at rough trade… This five piece band brought a rather large Moog synthesiser and their own amps as well a a plethora of guitars and other kit. All of which meant the stage was utterly rammed and that lead guitarist and vocalist Stephen was forced to stand on to the stage “extension” partially obscured by the pillar and lighting truss on the right hand side of the stage. The Moog was quite the beast, and filled the left had side of the stage effectively absorbing the bulk of the output from Lampy’s power-bricks on that side of the stage (also effectively blocking my usual favourite spot to shoot from). These factors, along with lead singer, Amber Webber’s request not to be too brightly lit made for some interesting lighting and shooting challenges… Lampy made the most of things with some careful focussing of her lights and I got mobile and made the most of access to the sides of the stage to try out some new angles!
Rough Trade East 11/04/2016
More photos here…
My photos also ended up illustrating an interview with Black Mountain’s Jerry Schmidt in Ella Stormark’s blog, Stormark Music