“Stormy High,” blizzards and Black Mountain at Southgate House

Black Mountain
Southgate House
Newport, Kentucky
March 8, 2008

An 11-inch blizzard of snow and ice stopped many music loving patrons from attending Black Mountain’s performance at the Southgate House in Newport, Kentucky on March 8, but those that were able to make the show did not leave disappointed.

Black Mountain’s recent offering, In the Future, was the primary source of the group’s hour and twenty minute sonic trip, stunning the Southgate’s denizens on the floor with a wide variation of rock and blues workouts.  "Evil Ways" fed loosely upon the inner rhythmic chemistry between bassist Matthew Camirand and pounding drummer Joshua Wells.

Black Mountain’s Canadian background enables the ensemble to draw from a rich history of musical legends, such as Rush, Neil Young, April Wine and Triumph. Indeed, Jeremy Schmidt’s expert use of organ, synthesizers and Mellotron bring to mind ’70’s icons Yes, Genesis, Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd.  But, Black Mountain’s unique arrangement’s and strong compositional structures lends the unit the ability to stand out on it’s own merits.

The aggressive and epic wallop of "Stormy High" and "Angels" found vocalist Amber Webber sharing the stage front duties with lead guitarist and vocalist Stephen McBean as Black Moutain’s melodic force soared as high as the penetrating wind outside the venerable facility.

The evening’s high point settled in around the grooves of "Wucan" as the band ventured into their version of Tolkien’s Middle Earth with McBean, Camirand, Schmidt and Wells driving the flow of amplified peaks and balanced subtlety off of each linear improvisation.  It was worth the effort of driving through the winter’s snowstorm just to spend an evening with the virtuoso rockers in Black Mountain.