Roky Erickson and Black Angels: The Ultimate Psych-Rock Trip at Grand Central Miami
Photo by Erik Hess
Roky Erickson and Black Angels
Grand Central, Miami
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Last night, we here at Crossfade witnessed what may truly be the ultimate in psych-rock shows: A tour featuring the living legend and originator of the genre, Roky Erickson, and the band that has preserved and carried on the spirit of psychedelia, The Black Angels.
This tandem of Austin, Texas' psych royals turned downtown Miami's Grand Central into a swirling cavern of mind-bending sounds and overwhelming aural textures, and the horde of fans that gathered for the rituals reveled in the night as if hypnotized.
Photo by Erik Hess All images from Crossfade's sister blog, Gimme Noise.
The show began with Brooklyn-based outfit Golden Animals, who played shortly after doors opened for a crowd that appeared to be less than interested in the trio's webs of twangy psych.
Though the band played well, its brand of psychedelia was a hard pill to swallow in the context of opening a show, with nearly every song being a dirge of echo-laden guitar and vaguely British-sounding vocals.
Perhaps the anticipation of the impending Roky Erickson set caused some distraction as well. And anyway, Golden Animals still made for decent background music.
Photo by Erik Hess
For anyone with even a cursory knowledge of Roky Erickson's unbearably difficult past, the fact that the man is performing at all in 2014 is simply astounding.
For the uninitiated, we cannot recommend the documentary You're Gonna Miss Me enough, as it tells the former 13th Floor Elevators figurehead's compelling history in heartbreaking detail. However, based on last night's performance, Erickson is in the midst of penning a happy chapter with this late portion of his career.
The legend hit the stage promptly at 9 p.m., backed by his band, the Hounds of Baskerville. The erratic performer (who, after being diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic in the late '60s, nearly became a casualty of the pseudo-science that passed for psychiatric care -- namely electroshock treatment -- during that era) has been known to get lost in the turbulence of live performances from time to time. However, last night, the Erickson was locked into the moment and absolutely unstoppable with the help of the band backing him.