The Black Angels’ Winter Dance Party 2018

White Oak Music Hall was the place to be on December 27th. It was the scene of a Texas-style psychedelic celebration to send off the year and enter the new one with groovy performances all around.
It had all the trappings of a great night as the crowd filled up with people looking to dance the night away and bands lining up to perform their end of year sets. El Lago, Galveston’s dreamy psych band, was the first on the ticket. As a newcomer to their performances, I was pleasantly surprised by their trance-inducing live performance. Much has been written about Lauren Eddy’s delightfully delicate vocals, but it is the pedal-powered guitars that move El Lago onto another plane of existence with Eddy’s voice as the element that ties it all together. Their album Colors is a fantastic step forward for the Houston-Galveston music scene, and they will definitely be around more often with live sounds like these.

Coming into this “Rock & Roll Gathering”, I was new to Holy Wave, but these Texas psych veterans really brandished their chops, and I would say their set was the closest to the true nature of psychedelic music. That is saying a lot when The Black Angels are on the bill as well. With “love” being a main lyric in most of their songs, Holy Wave is almost textbook 60s psychedelic rock, but it’s their rhythm and guitar sound that scream neo-psychedelic influences like Tame Impala and Deerhunter. It’s fresh yet nostalgic, and I think that is key to Holy Wave’s sound and success. The crowd showed much deserved love for a new song that they had not played before live, and I think a personal highlight was their usual three or so minute long jams that seem to be structurally consistent in most of their songs. They were a fantastic addition to the night, and an even greater segue to the night’s main attraction.

Whether its their droning sound coupled with Stephanie Bailey’s outstanding drumming or the head-nodding riffs alongside vague, psychedelic lyrics, The Black Angels elevated White Oak Music Hall to a psychedelic dimension for nearly two hours. As a relatively new follower to The Black Angels, I was expecting something similar in feel and atmosphere to the their last show in Houston at the House of Blues earlier this year. I was dead wrong. Their last show was great, but I felt out of place. I felt as if I was the only teen in the place, but as I moved forward with this show, the vibes and crowd were completely different. Tiffany, Coog Radio’s Wed Director, commented that the crowd looked pretty diverse, and I completely agreed. It was the combination of the aforementioned elements and the sheer psychedelic overload that is The Black Angels that made this show one of the greatest I have been to this year. Whether it’s their droning sound coupled with Stephanie Bailey’s outstanding drumming or the head-nodding riffs alongside vague, psychedelic lyrics, The Black Angels elevated White Oak Music Hall to a psychedelic dimension for nearly two hours. It was a great way to send off the year (some might say the only way), and the amazing people around the crowd made it even better. If you are going to be in San Antonio, Dallas, or Austin these last few days of 2018, I would highly recommend a ticket to their end of year shows. The Black Angels continue to improve their bid as one of Texas’ greatest bands to ever play.

Photos by Tiffany Noviski Neufeld 

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