“With the proper mindset, seeing Acid Mothers Temple, regardless of whether they’re performing as the Melting Paraiso UFO, the Cosmic Inferno, SWR, or any number of other group permutations, goes beyond a mere concert experience. It feels like stumbling upon secret society, a glimpse into a shadowy underground world, an encounter with a subterranean clan of mythical faerie-folk. Achieving this mindset is most easily accomplished by embracing one of the key words in the band’s name. By this, I don’t mean that you need to construct a place of worship, and you are not required to give birth to children. By process of elimination, you are left with the key to the Acid Mothers experience.
The band seems to love the road. They can be counted on to make an appearance in Portland at least once a year. Beginning in 2008, Kawabata Makoto and company made Holocene their preferred performance venue. Prior to this, their Portland stage of choice was at an establishment on southeast Burnside, known for its log-intensive construction and underground showroom. I, for one, was delighted they have since moved on to Holocene. It was this first show at Holocene that stands out as my favorite experience there. At the risk of incriminating myself, I had chosen to put the Acid in Acid Mothers Temple that evening, and right off the bat, I was delighted to discover that venturing out with consciousness altered was far less stressful at Holocene than it had been at their former establishment of choice. As is often the case at AMT shows, I was fairly certain that many of my fellow show-goers had also chosen to go with chemical enhancement that evening. Kindred spirits in psychedelia Danava were opening that evening; I’m hard pressed to think of another local act that lends itself so well to the Cosmic Troubadours from the land of the rising sun.
The weather that night was cold and damp, but the stage room at Holocene was crowded, warm and humid, most likely the result of all the pharmaceutically overclocked fans in attendance. I chose to stay cool and hydrated with whiskey gingers. If you happen to be a fan of this particular cocktail, Holocene makes one of the best in town. No mere whiskey topped with ginger-ale from the bar gun here; your liquor is mixed with a delightful concoction they have pre-mixed and bottled, and the drink is topped with freshly grated ginger. On this evening I had the pleasure of being served by Bridget, easily my favorite bartender in town. I’ve never seen her less than cheerful and friendly, regardless of how busy the bar might be, and she has a firm grasp on astrology as well, from what my star-ignorant self can tell; the last time I was single, she told me to find myself a Virgo. Maybe you can guess my girlfriend’s sign.
Bolstered by delicious drink and Bridget’s friendly words, Acid Mothers were ready to take the stage. I worked my way up to the front of the crowd, taking my place with the rest of the gaping-pupiled freaks and weirdos, most sporting long hair, beards, and leather knee-high boots, a regular reprobate’s row straight out of a degenerate renaissance faire. Everyone had their psychic sails unfurled, ready to catch the cosmic wind about to blow off of the stage.
As usual, the bassist Atsushi Tsuyama did most of the talking for the group, thanking us all for coming and cracking jokes in broken English. AMT performed most of their live show staples, treating us to extended freak-outs during “Pink Lady Lemonade” and “Dark Stars in the Dazzling Sky,” with guitar god and guru Kawabata Makoto interlacing his solos with guitar-god theatrics, swinging his guitar in huge windmills by the headstock and then raising his inverted axe straight up to the heavens, reaching up with his free hand for fret runs, then swinging back down and repeating the process. I can’t be sure what the back of the house made of the madness, but the first few rows of fans responded enthusiastically to the performance, swaying and twitching, arms upraised and eyes slitted with delight.
One audience member in particular stood out that evening. He was a short, stocky little man who looked to be pushing fifty, with buzzed hair up front and a greasy fringe of mullety drape in the back, wearing a white t-shirt, acid-washed jeans, a sheen of sweat, and a sour expression. With his piggish nose, cro-magnon brow, and hot dog package neck rolls, his appearance strongly evoked the image of a Gamorrean guard from “Return of the Jedi.” At one point in the show I noticed a petite hippyish girl who kept bumping into this trollish fellow from behind with her enthusiastic dancing. After several contacts, the ogre scowled and jabbed backwards with a vicious elbow that caught the girl in the stomach, followed by a whirl and glare from the cranky fellow. The girl laughed in his face. She was a real trooper.
All in all, the band treated us to about 90 minutes of kaleidoscopic jams, slow burners, and fireball rave-ups, and encored with Danava to the tune of “Na Na Na Hey Hey (Goodbye).” The sound was fantastic, and the crowd was just crowded enough, enthusiastic, and appropriately freaky, as even sourpusses like the troll man have their place at an Acid Mothers show. Holocene seemed provide just the right air of hands-off attitude to allow a crowd able to step outside of itself enough to cut loose and let the band do likewise. Unfortunately AMT already made their ‘09 appearance at Holocene in April, but keep your eyes peeled and catch them in 2010 when they’ll almost certainly re-appear. Get your freak on.”
Just got back from Amanda Blank at Rotture. Even though she was only on for about 30 minutes, was she ever ONNNNNN. Stone foxy and with attitude to spare. I fear i may have danced myself into a fever relapse.
Is anybody gonna be at Animal Collective on monday?