Black Mountain

Photo by Tenaya HillsVerizon Wireless Amphitheater, Irvine
Sunday, Aug. 21

Coldplay might be the world's beigest band, but at least they had the guts to stop the standard-procedure second guessing that pinches the blood out of the music industry—”Well, I like this, and you like this,” sighs Mr. In Control in his shiny shirt, looking out the plate glass at the LA skyline, “but THE MASSES will hate it, so let's not do it!”—and put an unknown (except to anyone who saw them at the Booby Trap in April) band they believed in on their arena tour. And although the masses do hate them—”Shut the fuck uppppppppppp!” says some highlighted bossy while Black Mountain is making something particularly beautiful—the gesture itself is honest, simple and admirable. This band might have been playing house parties not even six months ago, but their songs lit up 20,000 (or whatever) empty seats without a flicker in the power—Velvet Underground redo “No Satisfaction” rolling up and down the terraces like a pinball, singers Stephen and Amber totally strong and self-assured: “O muse, I'm embarrassed of what happened . . . ” In a way, there's sort of unwarranted pride here: Black Mountain are a real live band (as opposed to the cold bait they shake off the boats from England each month) and they just went out there as five tiny scribbles in black and brown and knocked the tops off the (black) mountains behind the amphitheater. For all the just-as-good bands who get rusty in dive bars each week because they don't have the luck or the easy-going nature to get in front of 20,000 (or whatever) people, for all the little bands who etch out CDRs no one takes seriously until it's too late: Black Mountain knows and shows it's not for lack of anything but some famous person giving you the chance.

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