Category Archives: Classic Rock

Black Mountain – Shepherds Bush Empire

On the 7th October, I had the slightly surreal and unusual experience of going to see a band I knew almost nothing about. We had been invited months ago to go and see Black Mountain at the Shepherds Bush Empire at the beginning of October, however as many times as I tried to remind myself, I never seemed to get round to having a listen to the critically acclaimed Canadian quintet.

So I turned up on the night, not really knowing what to expect. The support band was The Black Angels, from Texas, who I think had potential, however the dreadful sound mixing and severe feedback combined with distortion made for painful listening, which took a long time to get used to.

Although this sounds harsh, I really was glad when The Black Angels left the stage, as my ears had taken a real battering over the past half an hour or so, and they welcomed the break!

After a short break, Black Mountain took to the stage. The Canadians have clearly developed an impressive British fanbase, as the crowd down below us went wild.

Although many songs were slow for the most part, Black Mountain delivered every dark, bluesy, 70’s-style prog rock tune with power and emotion. The drummer, for example, came on in only a vest (and some shorts obviously), and within minutes it was soaked through! The songs, thick with various layers of sound were riddled with haunting keyboards and synths, which matched lead singer Amber Webber’s voice, accompanied by complex, throbbing guitar parts that shook the venue to its core. Powering every song were the booming drums from the back of the stage, which shook every fan to their core.

The crowd went wild for cult hits such as Rollercoaster and Angels, and despite being skeptical about how much I would enjoy the show, Black Mountain really impressed me with their brooding, haunting tracks, combining blues, psychadelia, progressive rock and the occasional lighter, acoustic moment, reminiscent of Led Zeppelin and Hendrix.

All in all, Black Mountain’s unique take on classic genres make for a very thought-provoking listen, and are a must for any Zeppelin fans, looking for something new to complement their old favourites. I would really recommend having a listen, and even trying to get to a show if you can, as they really are worth the money.

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Stash – Slash Tribute Band – Rhodes Arts Centre

The second tribute band I have been to see at the Rhodes Arts Centre in Bishop’s Stortford was Stash – A tribute to Slash, and the numerous groups he has been in over the years – Guns N’ Roses, Velvet Revolver and Slash’s Snakepit.

I went with a friend, also the fellow guitarist in my band, hoping to have a look at some decent guitar playing, however we arrived to find the Centre pratically empty. There were probably 50 people there, at the most, so we had limited expectations for the evening.

The band began as Guns N’ Roses, the idea being that Stash was the central figure, whilst the other band members morphed into the members of the different bands. They rolled through their greatest hits, songs such as November Rain, You Could Be Mine, Knockin on Heaven’s Door and Sweet Child O’ Mine – and they were fantastic! ¬†Stash’s guitar playing was note perfect, and the singer, who interestingly renamed himself Xl Hose was great aswell. He sounded just like Axl, and he even came complete with pants, bandanna and kilt! The rest of the band were pretty impressive aswell. About half way through the set, there was a duelling session between the rhythm guitarist and Stash, showing that rhythm guitarists often have a lot more skill and talent than they are shown to possess.

Next the band switched to Slash’s Snakepit – I had never really listened to them before, but to me, it sounded very similar to Guns N’ Roses.

Finally, the band morphed into Velvet Revolver, playing a selection of hits from Contraband, including Slither, which was great!

It was a great show, and I felt sorry for the band at the end of the night – they deserve a much bigger turnout than what they were receiving. It just went to support my theory that tribute bands are a great alternative to the real thing. If you live in the Bishop’s Stortford area, and you see that Stash is performing, be sure to check him out, it ¬†will be money well spent!

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