Roky Erickson teams up with the Black Angels
Halloween's unofficial tunesmith returns to Los Angeles, this time backed by neo-psych band and fellow Austin, Texas, residents The Black Angels.
With an irresistible combination of horror kitsch in a boogie rock jumper, Roky warns in "Night of the Vampire," "If it's raining and you're running don’t slip in mud/because if you do you'll slip in blood/tonight is the night of the vampire."
The 13th Floor Elevators frontman has come a long way from signing a legal affidavit maintaining his status as an alien from another planet. His loyal fans were understandably overjoyed to see their man back in fighting shape after years of overmedicated inertia for a series of appearances in 2005 coinciding with the release of a box set anthology, "I Have Always Been Here Before," and documentary, "You're Gonna Miss Me."
Now, Roky returns to Los Angeles almost exactly one year after his last appearance, where he took the stage...
with a reformed version of his '80s backing band the Explosives, pulling many gems from his back catalog, including "I Think of Demons," "Bloody Hammer" and "Cold Night for Alligators." How we love him. How we've missed him.
There's plenty of cool stuff in store for Friday's appearance at the El Rey. Erickson plans to unpack several 13th Floor Elevators cuts for a walk around the block, reportedly the first time he has played his old band's pioneering psych hits in four decades, with the assistance of the Black Angels, an outfit sonically beholden to the Velvet Underground song that inspired their name, while channeling more than a little bit of yage-fueled Jim Morrison magic in the process.
Not that we're skeptical. We're just curious to see how this pans out. The Black Angels sound doesn't exactly fit into the Explosives/Aliens mold of satanic boogie rock, what with its unironic drum fills and hellfire barnburners, punctuated by as many wild animal yowls as Buddy Holly hiccups. Will the Black Angels be able to supply a suitable enough bar-rock backdrop for Roky to stretch out All Hallow's Eve renditions of such classics as "The Wind and More," "I Walked With a Zombie" or "Two-Headed Dog"? Add to this Roky's enduring fondness for '50s doo-wop; in the 1978 one-off impromptu jam "Don't Knock the Rok!," he steered his enthusiastically ham-fisted band through "Stand By Me," "Take Good Care of My Baby" and "Bashful Bob." Not exactly the Black Angels purview, though the inspired pairing is poised to impress.
-- Grace Krilanovich
Roky Erickson with The Black Angels: 8 p.m. Friday, the El Rey, 5515 Wilshire Blvd., $27.50.