The Black Angels, Roky Erickson, and The Golden Animals at First Avenue – February 3rd, 2014

7 Feb

Words and Photos by Kyle Matteson

Golden Animals at First Avenue

Golden Animals at First Avenue

 

Golden Animals often get compared to The Brian Jonestown Massacre, which is a fair and worthy comparison, but after seeing them live, they actually reminded me of The Doors a bit more than I would have cared for. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy their short 30 minute opening set, but I felt like the band seemed to have a bit of an identity crisis on their hands. Musically they were more than proficient, and I enjoyed many of the more droning rhythms, but I couldn’t help but feel their songs could spend some more time in the oven.

Roky Erickson at First Avenue

Roky Erickson at First Avenue

 

Music legend Roky Erickson has lived a very rough life over the years. From co-founding the wildly influential psych rock band 13th Floor Elevators in the mid 60’s, mostly known for their single ‘You’re Gonna Miss Me’, to being diagnosed with schizophrenia just a few short years later, to being sent to multiple mental institutions, where he remained through the early 70’s. The last 15-20 years of Roky’s musical output has been, no pun intended, rocky, so when his first ever Minnesota show was announced, I was fairly leery of how it might go.

Needless to say my fears were unfounded, and Roky and his band the Hounds of Baskerville (featuring his son on backing vocals), tore through a blistering 45 minute set, covering a ton of ground from his nearly 40 year career. Not surprisingly the two standout songs of his set were ‘You’re Gonna Miss Me’, and ‘Two Headed Sog (Red Temple Prayer)’, the latter a song from Erickson’s mid 70’s band Bleib Alien. There were times when Roky seemed to lose his place on guitar a bit, but his tight backing band never lost their stride, and his voice was in way better shape than I could have ever imagined. After his set ended, a good chunk of the older crowd left before the headliner, and while The Black Angels put on a great set, they clearly still got their moneys worth. The word “legend” gets thrown around a lot when people artists start to reach their 50’s and 60’s, but in Roky’s case, it’s a more than worthy moniker.

The Black Angels' Alex Maas

The Black Angels’ Alex Maas

 

Austin psych stalwarts, The Black Angels, headlined the night, with their 90 minute set set sticking mostly to their most recent album, 2013’s ‘Indigo Meadow’. One nice touch at the end of their main set, is when the band dedicated ‘Young Men Dead’ to Buddy Holly, as the concert fell on the 55th anniversary of Buddy Holly’s death (along with Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper), just a few hours south of the Twin Cities in Clear Lake, IA. While you probably wouldn’t peg Holly as a big influence on The Black Angels sound, it just goes to show how wide of a swath his musical impact made, and it was a nice touch to see them display their musical history.

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