The Austin-based psych rockers delivered hard-hitting hits to a packed crowd, especially from their albums PassoverThe Phosphene Dream. The word phosphene refers to the visual stimulation that occurs when you close your eyes and rub your fingers against your eyelids—a sensation that also aptly describes the Angels in concert. Thick, spacey distortion, coupled with fog and solid-colored lights, provided the perfect palatte for the Angels to paint your brain. and their latest release,
Lead singer Alex Maas provides the perfect front to the band’s largely panicked and sinister beats. Maas seems to chew the microphone when he sings, and throughout the concert lurched with the swagger of a vicious drunk--with a half-smirk, half-sneer that kept you guessing as to whether or not he might take a swing at you or reach out and hug you—musically, he did a little of both. Christian Bland, the Angels' lead guitarist, meanwhile plucked out sharp, powerful chords with precision and intensity—looking as if his fingers were slightly electrocuted with the pluck of each string.
The Angels covered a slew of their tunes, like the anthem-like “Entrance Song” and the “The Sniper” from The Phosphene Dream, to Passover’s “The First Vietnam War” and “Bloodhounds on my Trail.” But for my money, the greatest pairing of songs of the evening came midway through the set when the Angels went from the relatively pleasant trip of the The Phosphene Dream’s “Yellow Elevator” and shifted without break straight into their previous album’s “Black Grease,” a meaner relationship song where the lines “I give give give give/ Give what I can dear” manages to sound less like a plea and more like a threat—I always heard “kill” instead of “give” the first hundred times I listened to the song.
Together, the two songs were the perfect one-two gut punch combination, going from the happy expatiation of “Yellow Elevator” straight to the bare-knuckle dissonance of “Black Grease,” that summed up the band’s altogether knockout evening.