Take that, you jam-rock pussies. You may think you know what it's like to noodle off in search of the lost chord, but there are four guys from Japan who take that exploration off in a direction so freaking psychedelic it will rip your face off.
Acid Mothers Temple completely destroyed The Social Oct. 14, and though a depressingly small crowd was on hand, it was quite a sight to behold. Openers The Occasion were truly lackluster, trying desperately to spice up their Sonic Youth-meets-the-Black-Crowes jive with frequent blasts of distorto-drone. Their keyboardist took over the vocals for one song, which wound up being their best, but only because she sings an awful lot like Thalia Zedek (even though she looked like a field hippie); otherwise, they were strikingly average. Maybe with a less-impressive companion on the bill they would have come off better, but when Acid Mothers Temple is taking the stage after you're done, you're gonna have to do a lot to impress.
Watching AMT (compacted to a foursome from their usual cult-like dozen or more members) wade through their 10-, 15- and 20-minute songs was an absolutely amazing experience. Guitarist Makoto Kawabata managed to simultaneously play a sitar-treated guitar and a super-amplified "regular" guitar, while the rest of the group pounded and riffed their way through some monster jams about pink lemonade. At times, the noise emanating from Kawabata's amps was positively overpowering in both volume and in hypnotic thrust. And lest you think he's just some mushroom-chomping Japanese noisemonger, he also engaged in some pretty incredible stage banter, managing to incorporate a bit about "mermaid pussy" into the standard Orlando stage-chatter about Mickey Mouse. This was probably the show of the year, and about 100 people were there to witness it.
HEAVY METAL KI JAI!
OK, this is weird. The last time I wrote about a concert the folks at the Asian Cultural Association put on, it was back in an April column that also had me proclaiming that Zakk Wylde was one of the only people around well-equipped enough to "save rock & roll." Well, there I was, two weeks after getting back from India, sitting at another wonderful ACA-produced performance Rajan and Sajan Mishra at the Darden Adventure Theater at the Science Center (on Sunday, Oct. 16) and just about to head down to House of Blues to see Zakk Wylde and Black Label Society. (Both shows were amazing, and I'm pretty sure I was the only person who was at both.)
Although the Indian music recital was marred by occasional technical glitches, the music was magnificent and the setting nearly perfect. The show began with a performance by Rajnish and Ritesh (nearly identical brothers) Mishra and ended with a performance by Rajan and Sajan Mishra (also nearly identical brothers; Rajan is the father of Rajnish and Ritesh); the blood-bonds that conjoin and strengthen traditional Indian music were amply evidenced by the phenomenal abilities of this family of vocalists.
As for Zakk? He killed. As usual. I have a theory that Black Label Society is the new Slayer (or, for you really old folks, Van Halen) in terms of reliability. Wylde may not be the most responsible human being on the planet, but when that motherfucker shows up in your town, you know you're in for a knock-down rock show. He'll play jaw-dropping solos, he'll drink an assload of beer, he'll get weepy for Dimebag and he'll rock the crowd like he either wants to hug them or kill them.
Funny (but true) story that links this whole Zakk/India thing even further. I was in a bar in Bangalore a couple of weeks ago and in walks this guy in a Deicide shirt. Seeing as how India and death metal don't typically roll off the tongue together, I was gobsmacked. So I started up a conversation with the guy, which led to lots of draft Kingfisher consumed and lots of talk of metal and how much Zakk Wylde rules the planet. Now that's a bond.
If I've lost all credibility with you indie-rock snobs by going on and on about Zakk Wylde, you'll just love the fact that I was singing along like a black-clad fat girl at the Alkaline Trio show at House of Blues Oct. 11. I'm pretty sure nobody saw me, though, so I'm probably blowing my own cover. The board mix sounded kinda muffled, but I guess that's what happens when you're better than the band you're opening for. The set was filled with older songs and aimed squarely at the hearts and minds of the Alkaline Trio fans who braved My Chemical Romance's "TRL" crowd to be there.
This week's make-your-own-podcast:
Beat Happening: "Our Secret"
The Velvet Teen: "Poor Celine"
The Beatles: "Love You To"
Kinski: "Hiding Drugs in the Temple (Part 2)"
Panjabi MC: "True MCs"
Blasphemy: "Winds of the Black Godz"
Jello Biafra & the Melvins: "Those Dumb Punk Kids (Will Buy Anything)"
John Cale: "Dirtyass Rock & Roll"
His Name Is Alive: "Last American Blues"
Fu Manchu: "Downtown in Dogtown" firstname.lastname@example.org