Vancouver was treated to an eclectic mix of local and international artists at the Vogue last night (March 10), where hometown friends Black Mountain and Destroyer performed, along with Dutch duo zZz.
zZz were first to take the stage, simultaneously baffling and entertaining the crowd with their organ and drum-driven music. Vocalist and drummer Björn Ottenheim's singing was harsh at times, but the echo effects used mellowed it out. Towards the end of their set, keyboardist Daan Schinkel took to engaging the audience with his tambourine playing, as they embraced zZz's music.
Next up, notable East Vancouver resident Dan Bejar, also known as Destroyer, entered the stage armed with an acoustic guitar and plenty of beer and whiskey. His wry storytelling was lapped up by diehard fans in the audience, who sang along to tracks such as "Foam Hands," "Times Square," "Chinatown," "The River" and "Don't Become the Thing You Hated." Bejar also played new material debuted on last year's solo tour, including the gentle "Stay Lost." His unmistakable voice and simple yet comforting guitar playing was clearly appreciated by the local crowd.
Black Mountain brought a very different sound to the evening, their psychedelic rock built upon tension and anticipation before erupting into a wall of sound. The harmonies of Stephen McBean and Amber Webber swept up the crowd, Webber in particular drawing much enthusiasm from concertgoers as she calmly strode the stage, carefully timing when to add her bewitching vocals to the mix. Tambourine in hand, her role sometimes appeared diminished, given the heavy involvement of the band's guitarist, drummer, keyboardist and bassist, but when she performed, she was notable.
Touring in support of 2016's acclaimed IV, the band weren't afraid to dip into older material such as 2010's "Rollercoaster." Their versatility was evident in their choice to perform contrasting tracks, like the tense "Mothers of the Sun," juxtaposed by the insistent guitar and otherworldly synths of "Florian Saucer Attack." The band's jams sometimes felt overly lengthy, and it would have been intriguing to hear further expansion upon their'60s and '70s psych rock, but Black Mountain truly gave the crowd what they wanted: driving bass lines, powerful drumming, thick guitar and strategic organ — with some fun experimentation on synthesizer. Not to mention those powerhouse vocals.