Saturday, May 19, 2012

Acid Mothers Temple at the Mercury Lounge

"Last Tour in US & Canada" read the t-shirts at the Mercury Lounge's merch booth. Of course, these things have a way of changing, but for an underground band like Acid Mothers Temple dealing with the cost of flying over from Japan, it's a claim worth taking seriously.

It'll be the States' loss. AMT are best in the flesh, boiling down their unwieldy discography to its best songs and gracing their experiments with a mesmerizing performance. Songs that create a stoner background on tape catapult into a sampler-heavy improv, where Hawkwind is king and recorders are cool. Clad in Druid wear, and offering no hint that any of them had ever seen This is Spinal Tap, Acid Mothers Temple employed space rock riffage from planet free-psych to create a gnarly two-hour riff cycle.

Unlike nearly every American drone-metal act, there are no pretenses in the Temple. Rather than fall into Stephen O'Malley's real-metal-is-too-stupid-for-me shtick, Acid Mothers Temple are unabashed fans of their art. Like a psychedelic Guided by Voices, AMT perform like a middle-aged team of average Joes pretending to be rock stars in a garage after their 9-5s, practicing Ritchie Blackmore's stage moves while looking like they've raided his closet. The audience, exactly the kind of folks you'd expect to pick up acid rock vinyls with 20-minute songs, hung on to every note.

Openers The Phantom Family Halo played a likable form of alt-psychedelic rock, following a Jesus-pushing noise rocker whose act stopped being interesting when irony kicked in.

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