The Black Angels and Roky Erickson at First Avenue, 2/3/14

Categories: Last Night
Photo by Erik Hess

The Black Angels
With Roky Erickson & the Hounds of Baskerville and the Golden Animals
First Avenue, Minneapolis
Monday, February 3, 2014

Two generations of Texas psych-rockers brought their own unique twists on that distinctive sound to First Avenue on Monday night. The Black Angels' colorful, psychedelic light show complimented their experimental, career-spanning 90-minute performance, but Roky Erickson's first-ever Minnesota show proved more memorable. The legendary 13th Floor Elevators co-founder's stirring set was heavy on hits from his illustrious past and productive present.

See Also: Slideshow: The Black Angels at First Avenue, 2/3/14

Erickson was supported by the Hounds of Baskerville, a five-piece backing band which included his son Jegar on backing vocals and harmonica. The group, which featured a scorching guitarist and Kaylie Bernhardt on keys, let Roky lead the way through psych-fueled classics like "Cold Night For Alligators," a rocking version of "John Lawman," and a rollicking run through of "Tried to Hide." But the set really took off with "Fire Engine," which had a poppy pulse that gradually gave way to a discordant reverb-drenched finish.

Erickson clearly was in good spirits all night long, lifting his arms in triumph after a particularly good number, while smiling and thanking the crowd at different points in the show. A series of modern rock bands (Okkervil River and the Black Angels being just two) have embraced and encouraged the notoriously reclusive Erickson to share his musical gifts with a new generation of fans, and he truly looked at home on the First Avenue stage.

Photos By Erik Hess

A sprawling, bluesy take of "Slip Inside This House" found the band in high gear, as Erickson traded off exploratory guitar solos during the song's fitful, untamed outro. The trippy 13th Floor Elevators' classic, "Kingdom of Heaven" was given a moody, modern reworking, led by Erickson's sanguine vocals and '60s-drenched guitar riffs. "Oh yeah, oh yeah!" Erickson exclaimed after the band brought the track to a haunting end, knowing that they had just hit on a good groove.

The set kept rolling with a flurry of tracks from the 1966 classic, The Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators, including "Roller Coaster," and "Reverberation." A raucous rendition of "Two Headed Dog" easily ignited both the band and the crowd, before the set suitably came to an end with Erickson's most famous number, "You're Gonna Miss Me." The audience was filled with smiling faces lost in the anthem's instantly recognizable groove. After a brief wave to the adoring crowd, Erickson and the band were off as chants of "Roky! Roky!" rang through the club. It didn't bring him back out for the encore, but I'm sure it warmed his heart on this cold February night.

Photo By Erik Hess

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