There were a lot of good things about Black Mountain’s performance at the Beachland Ballroom on Saturday: glorious outbreaks of drunken dancing, hilarious bandanas, a skateboard sticker on the men’s room wall that tastefully read “Psychic Fetus.”
But few left as indelible an impression as the rippling bass stabs of Glenn Schwartz, who played in the dimly lit Tavern. A former member of the James Gang, the great ’60s psyche-rock group that shepherded Joe Walsh, Schwartz spent some of his intervening years living in a parking lot and baffling locals with his eccentricities. No matter: he’s a rock star here, intoning Dylanesque vocal refrains in his smoky baritone. (“It’s a pretty amazing soundcheck,” laughed the bartender. “He’s making this shit up as he goes along.”)
Also on the bill was Quest for Fire, who engaged the crowd with a mixture of bleary hard rock and raucous, muscular punk.
But it was Black Mountain — with their mammoth guitars, quivering keyboards, and otherworldly textures — that was really worth remembering.
Hiding behind a frizzled mess of brown hair that recalls Janis Joplin or Grace Slick, Amber Webber exuded restrained chemistry with co-vocalist Stephen McBean as they ran through tracks like the evocative “Wucan,” sweltering “Druganaut,” and distortedly riff-heavy “Evil Ways,” bringing with them the same vigor that defines their two albums, 2005’s Black Mountain and 2008’s In the Future. The tracks built to a roaring crescendo of noise, stormy and mesmerizing. —M.T. Richards
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