Pink Mountaintops, Stephen McBean’s other band when he’s not occupied with Black Mountain, have always seemed to me to represent the somewhat softer side of his songwriting, even though it’s ultimately no less amplified than his other gig. It could be that I got that impression since the only other time I saw them was an instore at Sonic Boom a few years ago where I’m pretty sure McBean was playing an acoustic. So when I heard that this tour would feature McBean alone without any other backing musicians, I figured it might be a bit more of a stripped down affair. This was not quite the case. Even on his own, this guy’s capable of creating a pretty big sound.
Somehow hitting the sweet spot somewhere between Jesus And Mary Chain and Black Sabbath, McBean offered up lots of melody combined with just the right amount of guitar solos. There wasn’t much in the way of stage banter other than thanking opener Chad Ross, aka Nordic Nomadic and McBean mentioning that his parents were in attendance that night, but from what I’ve seen, he never seems to say a whole lot onstage regardless. Instead though, we were treated to some awesome space rock effects to fill the gap between songs. I’m sure Hawkwind would approve. Though he had nothing new to support on this tour, McBean still drew a fairly large crowd for a Tuesday night with those in attendance eager to hear many of their old favourites. I heard one guy in the crowd asking if McBean was planning on playing “Vampires” soon. McBean didn’t acknowledge the fan’s question but did indeed play the song towards the end of his set. And it was quite possibly the highlight of the set … not that the rest of the set was anything to sneeze at. Nicely done, Mr. McBean.