“I can’t believe this many people are here to see our band, this is amazing!” The lead singer of psychedelic rockers The Black Angels was taken back by the immense crowd at the Bottleneck. I’m not going to lie, I was too.

The moment you walked into the Bottleneck on Saturday night, it felt like another planet. The venue was spilling over with people, and a very groovy backdrop graced the stage. This didn’t feel like the Bottleneck I was used to.

Armed with the mind-melting album that is Phosphene Dream, the band played one of the most rocking sets I’ve seen this year. I’m not really into psychedelic rock, but they won me over. Especially with that light show of theirs (the band travels with a guy who specializes in warping your world with flashing lights).

I didn’t recognize anybody in the crowd, these weren’t the usual concert-goers. But they were all in a fantastic mood and stoked like crazy to see The Black Angels. It felt like these were the folks who missed having Wakarusa in Lawrence.

The band grooved, they jammed and they even won over the crowd when they growled “Ad Astra….Per Aspera” into the mic. They sometimes had up to three drummers onstage, and whenever they screamed into the mic it sent chills down your spine (check out the 1:41 mark in the video below to see what I’m talking about). This was some first-class psychedelic rock that came to us as a gift from Austin. The sounds were delicious and gratifying, and the light show was glorious. I don’t think we’ll see another show like that in the Bottleneck for a while.

I’m not sure how a band can be so rocking and so chill at the same time, but The Black Angels definitely delivered. I have a feeling that the next time they come back to Lawrence, they’re going to need a bigger venue.

Important note: We were very much looking forward to openers Suuns, but weren’t expecting such an early set time and missed them. But from what I heard, they were incredible and definitely deserve some credit for their performance on Saturday night.




Fally Afani is an award-winning journalist with a career spanning more than 20 years in media. She has worked extensively in radio, television, newspapers, magazines, and more.

1 Comment

  • michael, April 24, 2011 @ 11:44 pm

    Now *that* was a show.

    Special mention to Suuns for delivering the goods leading up to the headliners, and a tip of the cap also to L5 who started the evening quite nicely with a tight, energetic 25-minute set that sounded as if it was culled from the archives of the “Nuggets” box set. Several friends and I made the trip from KC for the show, and in my case I’d been waiting five years, ever since I first heard their call-to-arms debut album “Passover,” to see them live.

    It was worth the wait. Every minute of it.

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