The Black Angels, The Steams @Fuzz 7/3/2023


“You can be the one who saves yourself / Or you can watch it all go to hell”

It’s awkward attending a concert through the sorrow that covers Greece the last days due to the unspeakable massive tragedy of the deadly train crash in Tempe, Greece. Smiles are tight but at the same time people tend to gather in places like concert venues because they know they find there the psychological safety cushions. THE BLACK ANGELS offered us once more an impressively beautiful performance on a packed Fuzz Club creating a captivating atmosphere full of psychedelic melodies on last stop of their European tour while THE STEAMS were the ideal special guests for the occasion satisfying all the fans of psych rock.

“All the sins that blew you away…”

It was 20:30 when The Steams got on stage of Fuzz Club. “These are not days of joy… but we are happy you are here” said Panos Dimitropoulos (vocals, guitar) condensing our mixed feelings these days. The venue wasn’t fully packed at that time but those who arrived early must have felt lucky watching a band giving a great show and especially those who haven’t heard about them before must have felt a pleasant surprise listening these melodies that matched nicely with the headliners.

“filled my life like a garden with flowes…”

The Athenians kicked off with “The Horror” and we all tuned into Alex Mpolpasis’ warm bass lines while all of them seem like a compact team that knows how to take us by the hand into their world somewhere along the midsection of the song. The band with their music confirms why psychedelic music can cause magic trips without any need of chemical help. The album atmosphere comes out nicely live on stage with fragments of a mysterious ritual finding on a live venue the ideal conditions since there are the necessary believers there to appreciate them. They play “Amdajitr” and I want to cry out with them “As I travelled from the mountains / Took me years to find the shores”. And them, oh here, here is “Entrance” which is not only the great first track of their second album but also a song that you can enjoy watching Andreas Kokovikas dancing like he’s not holding and playing the guitar at the same time after the rolling drumming of Nikolas Mamasis. I immediately thought that this must be a great live performance and what they didn’t prove me wrong with everything they played after that. “Lament” is a great groovy epic song that makes you want to go grab beers from the bar but also if you already have one to pass it to the person next to you because “I have to go first row, look how great they are!”. But of course reality is not just beers and fun and the band dedicated the song the tragedy and the smiles faded. Noone denies that “Harvest” continues to be the absolute The Steams track, a trademark of how they compose a song with the slow burning intro until the heavy guitar riff at the end. There is always the end, but ok, we will be there again to see them live…

live video The Steams:

The Steams setlist:

The horror / amdajitr / entrance / black sand / perfect storms from afar / the lament / the harvest

During the thirty minute long break I was thinking how much the Greek fans loved Black Angels since the beginning with a sold out concert here at the same venue ten years ago. Fuzz club was packed tonight once more and Fans were looking for the right spot to enjoy the band, not an easy task considering the lack of proper A/C in the front rows and the annoying small talking at the backs rows. But it didn’t really matter since most of us we had the same impatience like all the other times.

“many many tears from now…”    

The guys from Austin, Texas decided to introduce themselves with “You on The Run” and then three compositions from their latest album Wilderness of Mirrors, all of them groovy enough to move the fans while Stephanie was impressive behind the drum kit seem like the leader of the boat. The dark lights on stage made photographers’ life difficult but the visuals as a backdrop were amazing to watch and the fans always love them on a show that had plenty of songs on set that lasted almost two hours.

“Cuttin’ through like a knife / Polarized into the light…”

The Black Angels were great on stage, no surprise here, sound and light were ideal too but there were moments the night seemed kind of dull and I wasn’t sure why. Maybe I felt this way because I didn’t get excited with Wilderness of Mirrors (that they dedicated almost have of their set like they always do with every new release) but when they were looking to their back catalogue you could feel that high blood pressure on most of us… “you know our thoughts, you put them there” like they say on “The Prodigal Sun” and everything seem to be on track from that moment with a truly satisfying set of mystagogic madness, filled with dozens of different sounds and effects coming from the numerous pedals and other effect equipment on stage but mostly our eyes and mind got filled with billions of colors…

Live video Black Angels:

Black Angels setlist:

You on The Run / El Jardin / Icon / History of the future / Grab as much (as you can) / Manipulation / Firefly / Without a trace / A walk on the outside / The prodigal sun / Entrance song / The river / Mission district / Black grease / Empires falling / Wilderness of mirrors / Bloodhounds on my trail / bad vibrations / Vermillion eyes / Yellow elevator #2 / Chose to choose / la pared / Young men dead / haunting at 1300 McKinley

® live report/photography/video: Konstantinos Mindcrimek Vlachos