Review - Black Map @ Back Bar (2/20/15)

Kevin Keating
Mark Engles and Ben Flanagan (Photo: Kevin Keating)
This past Friday night, the rock trio known as Black Map treated us to an intimate show at the Back Bar in San Jose; a relatively small dive bar that just so happened to have a hip-hop concert in an adjoining room. But the main show of the evening might have been considered a warm-up gig, as Black Map begin to coalesce their upcoming summer festival plans -- they've already confirmed two dates in Germany -- at the Gruhn Holle Festival and RockAvaria at the end of May -- with (I'm assuming) more on the way.

Their debut full-length album, ...And We Explode (iTunes) was released last October, and the band has already toured as an opener for Chevelle late last year. The trio of musicians who comprise Black Map bring with them serious credentials, as all three have come from other successful Bay Area bands. Guitarist, Mark Engles, hails from the critically acclaimed dredg. Vocalist and bassist, Ben Flanagan, toured and recorded extensively with The Trophy Fire. And last but not least, drummer Chris Robyn may be best known for his stick-work with Sac-fave, Far.

Chris Robyn (Photo: Kevin Keating)
The band kicked off the night with the pulsing "Code" (iTunes) which set the mood for the remainder of the evening. Slowing things down a bit, they launched next into the title track, "And We Explode, Pt. 1" (iTunes), giving Ben a chance to flex his voice.

Ben Flanagan (Photo: Kevin Keating)
Here's a pro-shot version of "And We Explode, Pt. 1" from Germany this past November:

It's always amazing to me to hear how full the sound of a 3-piece can be, and these guys are no exception.

Mark Engles (Photo: Kevin Keating)
As the night progressed, the band hit my favorites from the album, and closed with their first single, "I'm Just the Driver" (iTunes).

We've included the full setlist below, and you can find more pictures in our Facebook album here.

Don't miss these guys when they come to your town. You won't be disappointed.

Back Bar Setlist:
  • Code
  • And We Explode Pt. 1
  • Gold
  • Head for the Hills
  • Eyes on the Prize
  • Chinaski
  • Ropes
  • Moon
  • Gemini
  • And We Explode Pt. 2
  • Melee
  • I'm Just the Driver

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