With Stephen McBean exploring his softer side of late, Vancouver's ghouls and drunks were anxiously awaiting the return of his grittier psychedelic persona. Leaving the Pink Mountaintops at home for the night, McBean and friends, better known as Black Mountain, gave a one-off show that couldn't have been better planned or executed.
The significance of the date wasn't lost on the show's performers. All four acts took Halloween almost as seriously as the crowd. Opening the show were Vancouver's fantastic punk- and skate-inspired Sorcerers and Alberta's Rabies AB, followed by local thrash crew Bison, who channelled the Insane Clown Posse in look and Slayer in sound, priming the room for the headliner.
McBean, dressed as Jesus, might as well have been the Lord's son incarnate, considering the crowd's exuberance. The five-piece played songs primarily from their much-lauded In The Future album, but there was a good mix of tunes from both full-lengths. As on their latest album, Amber Webber's wailing cuts through the foggy haze of the group's Sabbath-inspired rock. This was most evident on the galloping "Bright Lights." And if "Wild Wind" wasn't progressive rock enough for you, Jeremy Schmidt's extended synth solo alone clocked out to nearly the length of the entire album version of the song. For a room that was originally designed to be a movie theatre, the sound ripped through you, but in a good way.
If there was any drawbacks to the night, it was that the night had to end.