Stage left photo credit Joey Flispart. Stage right photo credit Kenny Bloggins.
Black Moth Super Rainbow was easily one of the most exciting and bizarre shows Zanzabar has hosted for a while, and for their first appearance in Louisville, the place sold out by 10 p.m., packing the room with some of the most colorful characters I’ve seen in a minute. It was more of an event than simply a show.
Louisville’s Karass kicked off the evening, playing on the floor behind an arsenal of synths and LED lights. This was my first time catching them, and they certainly surprised me, and undoubtedly much of the audience too. While labeled “Louisville post rock” in their literature, Karass doesn’t rehash, say, the June of 44 sound. Rather, Karass doles out propulsive, meditative glitch motorik anthems not too far removed from Holy Fuck, Health, or (to an extent) Battles. Add ’em to your “check out” chalkboard.
Casket Girls, the touring support, originated from the sisters Greene performing bizarre autoharp tunes in public spaces throughout Savannah before being discovered by Black Moth’s Ryan Graveface (and overlord of the very fine label of the same name). No autoharp this evening though, their live show had more of an upbeat goth, Siouxsie and the Banshees flavor. It was okay. I didn’t hate it. But the sunglasses inside thing totally bothered me. They kept the shades on when they weren’t on stage as well. If that isn’t a Portlandia sketch yet, I’m sure we’ll see that sooner or later. A trivial point that I’m sure wouldn’t have mattered as much if the performance was more interesting. I dunno, sorry to be a hater.
No matter, at this point, the positive vibes were so very palpable.
Black Moth Super Rainbow served up a four piece lineup that included Tobacco with long-term members Seven Fields of Aphelion, Ryan Graveface, and Iffernaut – the latter donning a pretty mean ninja mask. The cult collective recreated with precision the more rigid electronic structure of Cobra Juicy that Tom Fec engineered in his bedroom live, metronomic percussion and demonic billowing vocoder testimonies in tow. While the live renditions of “Windshield Smasher” didn’t wander too far from the recorded counterparts, Black Moth’s surprises came in the form of digging deep into the catalog, including selections from their split with The Octopus Project.
As well, the other big surprise is the “cult of BSMR.” Some weird (but probably awesome) motherfuckers that exist somewhere between the Day Glos and the neckbeards came to light this evening at the Zanzabar, and I mean that endearingly. Shit, there was even a dude in a full body fleece Tapout suit, which blew my fucking mind. The Lil B crowd is the only audience that competes with Black Moth’s wild diversity. I love when the room gets palpably weird, and even better when lighters and hands are up in the air for “Forever Heavy.” As such, this night is on my top five shows of the year list.
Also, shouts out to the visual element backdropping the band: a video loop of a windswept playground in the foreground of a nuclear power plant and series of transformers, washed in a sort of extraction filter that made for a trippy Emerald City look. There’s a lot to read into that, which I won’t entertain at this moment. But man, that shit transfixed me most of the show.