PINK MOUNTAINTOPS at the Garrison, Tuesday, December 11. Rating: NNNN
At his Garrison solo stop, Pink Mountaintops leader Stephen McBean managed to get a powerful, dynamic sound from just an electric guitar and a sprawl of pedals at his feet. The bearded West Coaster gave the attentive Tuesday night crowd new arrangements - drum machine, sequenced bass and guitar, layers of thick distortion - of psychedelic songs from all three Pink Mountaintops albums and a couple of new ones, including the hypnotic You Can Dream.
Though there was a disconnect between hearing a full-band sound come from a single musician, and though the female voices that add such dimension to the tunes from 2009's excellent Outside Love were obviously missing, McBean still held our attention - less so because of his laconic drawl and more so because of his meandering, blues-rocky guitar solos that turned the fuzz up to eleven and got fans of his heavier Black Mountain project going, "Fuck yeah."
McBean deftly balanced folkier slowcore numbers with roaring uptempo rockers. Surprisingly, material from the band's 2004 self-titled debut album often hit the hardest, including Can You Do That Dance? and Sweet '69. It all earned him two encores.