In case you didn’t know, Japan’s Acid Mothers Temple makes its annual North American spring pilgrimage around this time of year. Well OK, usually it’s in April–they’ve effectively thrown my concert calendar outta whack. Although I missed ‘em last year (hey, U.D.O was in town!), I saw ‘em four years in a row beforehand, and I’ve already got my ticket in hand for their gig at The Garrison this week. With that said, I’ve dug into my cache of old write-ups to reminisce about some past AMT gigs. No pictures cuz I didn’t do that back then, but who knows, I might take some on Wednesday…
ACID MOTHERS TEMPLE/SHILPA RAY AND HER HAPPY HOOKERS @ EL MOCAMBO, APRIL 8TH
Every April, the Acid Mothers Temple makes its way across North America, always stopping at the ElMo along the way. This is the third straight year I’ve seen ‘em, and although there were some slight sound problems this time around, the band was just as good as ever. Maybe not quite as memorable as last year’s performance, though.
For one thing, the opening band wasn’t as impressive. Shilpa Ray and Her Happy Hookers was the most “normal” bunch I’ve seen supporting AMT, despite the tortured female screams and their use of harmonium. The garage/indie/grunge act seemed to drag on too long with a set of similar-sounding songs and only scant traces of psychedelia to be found. Sort of like an overpriced appetizer that leaves you hungry for the main course.
As for the headliners, well, sadly to say some technical difficulties put somewhat of a damper on the band’s set. The right-side speakers crackled constantly, and Tsuyama Atsushi booted a bass pedal in disgust. At one point, with none of the FX at his disposal registering in the mix, an angered Higashi Hiroshi walked off stage. It’s never a good sign when the sound guy’s plugging stuff in during yer set, but Kawabata Makoto made up for lost time with an extended solo played with a bow.
As per usual, the band played four, maybe five songs, tops. One tune, “Chinese Flying Saucer,” sounded a lot like Led Zep on some stronger medication. (And no, that wasn’t the one with the bow solo, either!) Another number featured lotsa strange group chanting. I’m pretty sure I’ve heard the one with the recorder before, though I think it was a clarinet last time. After Kawabata left his guitar hanging from a light fixture, the band came back for an encore that was part desert rock, part Egyptian desert music, till they sped up the pace and everything disintegrated into some frantic soloing that brought the evening to a close.
As I’ve said elsewhere, AMT is one of the best live psychedelic rock bands going. Don’t let their recorded output deceive you; this is an act that’s worth the price of admission every time, and I’m sure I’ll see ‘em next year, too!
(Originally written for TooHighToGetItRight.com. RIP.)