Acid Mothers Temple – Mercury Lounge – April 23, 2014
We all know looks can be deceiving. But sometimes the look is actually dead-on accurate. And last night’s late show at Mercury Lounge was proof enough of that. Close your eyes and listen to the opening act, Perhaps, and you might imagine a bunch of very talented young guys in T-shirts and jeans jamming out like they can’t believe they’re getting paid to do this. Open your eyes and that’s pretty much exactly what you’d have seen. The image was enhanced a bit by the fact that the bassist was wearing a Phish T-shirt and the guitarist’s T was for Morphine (the band or the drug—I’m not 100 percent sure—I believe the former, but either works in this case). The Boston quintet married thrashing rock and roll with a jazz-fusion mentality and drawn-out, high-energy improvisation to good effect. They’re a band to keep your eye on, so to speak.
Close your eyes once more for the headliner, Acid Mothers Temple, and listen to the music, and in your mind’s eye you might see a quintet of long-haired bearded Japanese wizards casting enchantments, causing minor explosions of psychedelic rock. Of course, that’s exactly what was going down onstage, the veterans of the psych-rock revival from before there was a psych-rock revival returned to the Merc with a nonstop torrent of guitars and bass. Their set was a long-form freak-out, entrancing the full house with a hypnotic cascade of jamming. This was a band that does nothing in moderation: Their first piece began loud and angry and grew louder and angrier, without a pause for contemplation or introspection (appropriately, one dude in the middle of the floor passed out almost immediately after the music reached full-strength). The second song had a groovier feel, the bass filling the room almost completely, guitars oozing into any nooks they could find.
When things quieted down enough to allow one of the band members to play a fluorescent plastic-recorder-type thing, there was some incoherent chanting going on—which is all to say, Acid Mothers Temple did slow down, but mostly just to get weird. By the fourth piece, the set was already 40 minutes long and showed no signs of relenting. This song was an epic masterpiece, beginning quietly with some nice guitar picking and then building into a long, glorious, there-goes-Jupiter, who-brought-the-snacks? voyage. It was easy to get lost in your own brain as the tune built and built in a glorious droning jam, fractions of an hour ticking by in what felt like no time at all. The piece eased through multiple sections, each highlighting the band’s veteran prowess and propensity to just keep on going, with very little complaint from the crowd as the clock reached midnight. Eventually, the song concluded some 20 minutes later, but the set kept going. And for all I know, they’re still jamming out, but at some point I had to close my eyes once again. —A. Stein