Black Angels/Elephant Stone. Leeds Cockpit. 13.9.2013

Many years ago, we went to see Black Rebel Motorcycle Club at Leeds Poly (OK, it has been Leeds Metropolitan University for about 20 years but for us it is still the ‘Poly’). We caught the last 10 minutes of Black Angels support slot and thought they were great. Hence made a mental note for ‘next time’.

So, 8.30pm, on they come. Their name is taken from an early Velvet Underground song and their logo uses an early image of Nico.  I am not keen on ‘pigeon-holing’ groups, but if pressed I would liken them to early VU with Green on Red’s Dan Stuart on vocals.  A 5-piece, with plenty of fans there on a night when the Kieser Chiefs are at the nearby Arena.  One ‘die-hard’ fan nearby  amused me by cheering for ‘Jennie’ on drums. Wonder if drummer Stephanie Bailey had a chuckle to herself (can’t see Jennifer, who was ‘asked to leave’ some years ago, being equally amused). We had an eerie moment during an early song when we simultaneously mouthed the words ‘Syd’ and ‘Barrett’, and another song had a bass-line similar to BRMC’s ‘Stop’.  I totally admit to not knowing a single song title, and will add setlist details if I can find them. But it didn’t matter, they were brilliant, and anyone who can make a one chord song work has to be something special. Lots of swapping of instruments, mainly left-handed, showed their versatility.

And support act, Elephant Stone. After our previous mistake in missing BMRC’s support act, weren’t going to do it again. Had got there very early and Elephant Stone came on 7.30 to about 20 or 30 people.  Same name as an early Stone Roses single, but the comparison ends there. Starting out with a sitar ‘drone’ they came up with a fascinating soundscape. The second number had a feel of the Stranglers ‘No more heroes’ (?!) but without the growling, and I detected a whiff of the Rain Parade  maybe? Great use of the sitar and although the vocals were quite lightweight, they were very appropriate.  Grabbed a setlist, which indicated Heavy Moon/Setting Son/Don’t you know/Lookin’ thru’ baby blue/Sally go round the sun/Love the sinner, hate the sin/A silent moment.  A total travesty that they only played for barely 30 minutes. I would gladly pay to see them in their own right.

So, for anyone like me who was a bit too young to be at the UFO club in 1967, a great night. I can’t remember ever watching 2 groups without knowing a single song title and being so impressed.  £14 a ticket, cheap as chips.

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