Black Mountain performs with special guest Ashley Shadow at the Queen’s on Monday (Aug. 1).

Black Mountain performs with special guest Ashley Shadow at the Queen’s on Monday (Aug. 1).

Polaris Music Prize nominee Black Mountain performs in Nanaimo

NANAIMO - Black Mountain performs in Nanaimo with special guest Ashley Shadow at the Queen's Monday (Aug. 1).

Guitarist and co-vocalist Stephen McBean, of the band Black Mountain, didn’t have a music career planned as a child, it was just about having fun.

“I was a little kid picking up a tennis racket and pretending to play guitar or it was banging on some pots and pans,” said McBean.

He was influenced by groups like Kiss, Abba and others.

“I would just kind of hear it and it was just one of those things where it just took you away,” said McBean. “What is that really beautiful sound?”

His parents bought him an acoustic guitar and then he got a paper route and saved up to buy an electric guitar. He started playing shows at about 12 years old. At the time, he was being exposed to the urban punk scene.

McBean said as a teenager, he didn’t place limitations on himself. He knew he could do it. He didn’t need to play in stadiums. He would sometimes play for five people in a basement or at house parties.

“When you are that age you just do things. There is no real plan or mission or looking in the future,” said McBean.

He grew up in Victoria and has performed with various bands over the past two decades, including Jerk Ward and Pink Mountaintops.

Black Mountain, known for it psychedelic sound, was recently nominated for a Polaris Music Prize for its album IV. The Polaris Music Prize is awarded by the not-for-profit organization Blue Ant Media. The organization annually honours artists who produce Canadian music albums of distinction, according to its press release.

He said with songwriting and producing songs, you just open your ears and accumulate data and musical inspiration.

“You hope it comes out in an unusual or intense way,” said McBean.

McBean said the band plays music it loves.

“We like people just to experience it, how they experience it, if it hits them in the heart in a certain way, that’s cool and if it makes them angry, that’s cool too,” said McBean.

Black Mountain performs with special guest Ashley Shadow at the Queen’s on Monday (Aug. 1). Doors open at 8 p.m. It’s the band’s debut performance in Nanaimo.

Tickets are $20 in advance from the Queen’s, Fascinating Rhythm, Arbutus Music and

A portion of the proceeds in being donated to Vancouver Island autism charities, including the Arbutus Global Junior School life skills program and the Victoria Society for Children with Autism.

For more information about Black Mountain, please go to