Live Review
BLACK MOUNTAIN AT THE O2 ACADEMY OXFORD
Black Mountain
O2 Academy
Oxford
04/09/10

Canadian outfit Black Mountain’s sound and stage show is unashamed in its homage to the best of 70s rock. This may sound awful as it brings back nightmares of Wolfmother and The Darkness, but despite sporting a cartoonish, grooooovy fancy-dress look, this is a formidable rock band with some excellent songs.

Live, they avoid the clichés that their clothes don’t, steering clear of improv and drum solos, instead playing a tightly crafted 90-minute set, mostly taken from new album ‘Wilderness Heart’. Bold and clearly not daunted by ambition, they throw just about every band you can think of from said decade of pomp into the mix. There are Zeppelin style riffs, a Floyd-esque, mystical mellotron, a rhythmic presence that Cream would be proud of and, in singer Amber Webber’s, Janis Joplins’ throaty vocals wail on. And ‘Stormy High’, ‘Wucan’ and new single ‘Old Fangs’ are particularly like test-tube-grown stadium rockers, complete with stomping melodies and punchy choruses. Homages are almost always bad. Quite often very bad. But what Black Mountain do is on a par and sometimes better than what the finest 70s rock bands had to offer.

By Tom Goodwyn

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Originally published in issue 21 (vol 3) of Loud And Quiet. September 2010