Bleeding Rainbow with Akron/Family, A Place To Bury Strangers @ Urban 11.08

Posted November 14, 2012 in
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Bleeding Rainbow
Philly-based, shoegaze four-piece Bleeding Rainbow blew into Urban Lounge with as much energy and force as the first big snow storm of the year--which was just hours away from whiting out the city. Just two weeks into their nationwide tour with A Place to Bury Strangers, Bleeding Rainbow possess the punk rock, stage-thrashing spirit of Fugazi with the sweet, candy-like vocals of Mazzy Star, and their excitement about touring erupts in every song.

What originally started as just a duo in 1998 under the moniker Reading Rainbow with founding members Rob Garcia on guitar and vocals and Sara Everton on drums, Bleeding Rainbow has evolved into a much fuller and energetic sound. Maturing from the minimalist post-punk, early-’90s ambient sound of their first LP, Mystical Participation, BR have maintained the same simplistic song structure prevalent throughout their numerous EPs and LPs, slowly transforming into a gentle giant of a shoegaze beast, incorporating complex guitar solos and harmonies. Rainbow are dressed simply, in jeans and T-shirts, and they spare the room the dreaded fog machine, their stage performance and awe coming entirely from the self replicating energy intimidating the stage at Urban. The third release for the band, Yeah Right, scheduled for release Jan. 29, comprises almost their entire set for the night. Everton never stops moving, twisting and turning between belting out pleading lyrics and extracting the low-end, deep bass sound of her Fender P-bass, contrasting well with the crisp, clear, high-end sound of Garcia’s Strat. During “Cover the Sky,” a song reminiscent of a more youthful and sentimental Sonic Youth, I can see second guitarist Greg Frantz shredding the shit out of his guitar, but can barely hear the fuzz coming out of it. The lack of fuzzed-out guitar is redeemed by Garcia tearing up an epic guitar solo, resulting in an awesome prelude into their final song for the night, “Get Lost”--an energetic noise explosion that ends their set in a collision of bass and guitar as Everton and Garcia crash into each other, producing mad feedback and ending their epic and emotional set perfectly.

I approach Everton at the merch booth to chat, and Everton tells me that after starting their tour on the East Coast, they made their way to San Francisco before heading to Salt Lake and putting on an awesome show on just 30 minutes of sleep. Everton says, “We’ve played Salt Lake before and like playing here.” I scope out some awesome cassettes and 7” singles for sale at the merch booth and spot some old tote bags and T-shirts with the band’s previous name on them. I wish them luck with their tour and watch Akron/Family set up.

Akron/Family are a loosely definable as “experimental” and often “improvisational,” a trio known for explosions of noise and distortion, touring separate from Bleeding Rainbow and APTBS. The room fills in as Akron/Family are starting soundcheck. Unexpectedly, soundcheck transitions into swells of synthesizer and guitar noise signaling the start of their set. After five minutes of what feels like one long intro transitioning into another, I got a feeling I get when I listen to a new album from one of my favorite bands and can’t stand the first 30 seconds, so I shelve it and give it a second chance a month later. I head outside, as do a lot of people, to wait for more interesting sounds to grab me, and I end up sitting outside the entire set learning the ins and outs of bartending and the Leprechaun movie franchise from Urban’s Dave Combs--regrettably missing the muffled eruption I later hear seeping out the door.

APTBS possess some of the most beat-up and destroyed instruments I’ve ever seen, laying face down before a mountain of speaker cabinets. After realizing I am unknowingly blocking drummer Robi Gonzalez from entering the stage, a huge wall of noise comes blasting all of us in the face--I can feel my lips and eyelids blowing from the sonic blast. Singer Oliver Ackermann picks up a strobe light and begins beating his guitar with it, resulting in an awesome light show. For those who didn’t come prepared, APTBS have earplugs for sale at the merch booth, and if you stand up against the soundboard, a free back massage is available from the vibration of the barrage of noise emitting from the stage. They blast through most of their new album, Worship--nailing “Alone” and “Worship.”

I dip out right after their last song, grateful for bringing earplugs and stoked on the awesome noise invasion that took over Urban tonight.
Bleeding Rainbow Bleeding Rainbow's latest album, Yeah Right, is due out Jan. 29.