A couple of years ago, Stephen McBean – known then as the frontman for West Coast rockers Jerk With Bomb - breezed through town accompanied by a drum machine and his own guitar. Under the name Pink Mountaintops he gave a super show opening for Frog Eyes and Destroyer – I was inspired to zip over to the merch table and buy the CD before his set was over.

Since then, McBean has released well-received albums both as Black Mountain and Pink Mountaintops, toured with Coldplay and generally garnered enough attention to draw a large crowd to one of Ottawa’s more sizeable clubs.

The first act to parade under Barrymore’s Vaudeville-era gilt-edged mirrors and chandeliers was local major chord power poppers Camp Radio. Led by music veteran Chris Page (of the Stand GT, Rhume, Resin Scraper and others) they put on a typically energetic set.

The next band up was Texas drone specialists Black Angels. The band’s fuzz and feedback owe a great deal to the Jesus and Mary Chain and Spacemen 3 –the Velvet Underground, from which they acquired their name, also loom large. The well-stocked, co-ed group brought the band’s war-decrying ‘Passover’ album and their self-titled EP to life with considerable aplomb. The audience reacted enthusiastically to the languid riffs and singer Alex Maas’s nasal croon, all of it remarkably faithful to their recorded work, while still garnering the extra live kick.

Like the Black Angels, the Pink Mountaintops are a sizeable outfit, McBean having traded in the drum machine for six bandmates, including Amber Webber from Black Mountain. They even brought out some of the Black Angels for a percussion-heavy run through the first album’s ‘Sweet 69’. The band’s fuzz heavy approach gave extra heft to McBean’s one-man-band album tunes, and their 1970's stoner-psyche sound dovetailed neatly with the Black Angels more 1980’s approach.

As with Black Mountain, McBean’s drawl and Webber’s nonchalant coo creates a pleasant contrast.

It was among the cooler shows so far this year.

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Commenting On: Barrymore's, Ottawa, 19/6/2006 - Pink Mountaintops, Black Angels and Camp

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