Monday, August 31, 2009

Black Cab, Sun Blindness and Sand Pebbles @ the ESPY

This had to be one of the better bills of the winter, possibly the year. We north-siders tend to save our southward jaunts for something pretty special and with four or so hours of psychedelic brain massage on offer, no stinking river was stopping me.
The Sun Blindness served up roomy cotton-wool wrapped psych-pop with flair. I don’t know whether vocalist Tor Larsen’s had his pipes cleaned or if he could always sing this good. Could be that in his largely secondary vocalist role with Sand Pebbles he’s slipped under the radar a bit, but it was great to hear him giving it a belt. The vibe these guys emanate is hot sauce. I’ve got no idea how both Larsen and drummer Wes Holland managed to back up with the Sand Pebbles straight afterwards—something to do with the vitality of youth I guess.
Dropping straight into the endorphin inducing Wild Season, Sand Pebbles had the Gershwin room in a stupor. And the way these guys ducked and weaved through the most gentle and addictive grooves, grinning like mother fuckers while pumping energy into the crowd was a marvel. Between Andrew Tanner’s smooth, measured croons and Larsen’s sweet, almost feminine intonations, they possessed the vocal weaponry to counter the tantalising barrage of right-handed guitar—though Ben Michael X’s ray-gun string tweaks were fierce.
The latest offering from Black Cab ‘Call Signs’ is a tempestuous triumph. A lesser outfit would’ve struggled to recapture an audience swooning form the eminence of the openers, but Black Cab commanded the room like Charlton Heston at a gun rally. The single Black Angel granted a sliver of light to a performance of such gruelling intensity that it sucked the oxygen from the room, yet revitalised simultaneously. Andrew Coates’ voice appeared and vanished like a spectre, while James Lee’s guitar licks snapped with spring freshness and danced about the place.
This show was of the type that makes gig-going not only a pleasure, but a necessity. A true event with zero pretence, I’m closing my eyes to take myself back.