Black Moth Super Rainbow at Bluebird, 5/17/13
BLACK MOTH SUPER RAINBOW @ BLUEBIRD THEATER | 5/17/13
Near the end of its set, Black Moth Super Rainbow performed "Sun Lips," one of its signature older songs. While some people sang along a bit earlier in the show, it seemed like everyone up front knew the words to this particular song and sang along dramatically, with their arms raised and waving as the song rose and fell in its hypnotic, syrupy whorls of layered melody. For a song that is so ethereal and just shy of whimsical on record, live its expansive sonic structure and transporting repetition had a visceral quality that made it feel like some kind of dance song even though it really isn't.
When Black Moth took the stage, there was little in the way of preamble. With Iffernaut wearing a hood with a mask covering the lower part of her face, and Tobacco wearing a hood of his own, the band started its set with "Hairspray Heart." Unlike perhaps some of the outfit's performances, there was a truly organic feel to the sounds, even though Tobacco sang through a vocoder and both he and The Seven Fields of Aphelion played electronic instruments.
Iffernaut's drumming was more controlled and expressive than was the case with her performance in Denver last summer. Pony Diver, who stood in the background nearly unseen by the audience, made his presence very felt as his low end accented and helped drive the atmospherics. Ryan Graveface employed such an array of sounds and textures on his guitar that it gave the songs another layer of depth.
The set largely drew from the group's latest album, Cobra Juicy, one of the great records of 2012, but the presentation was much different from the album. Here, Black Moth opted for an even more analog performance with the songs utilizing the instrumentation in a way that emphasized the non-electronic aspects of the sound.
Some surprises included a rendition of "I Think It Is Beautiful That You Are 256 Colors Too," that was updated with a new set of sounds, and "Smile Heavy," which sounded like a hip-hop song with the way Iffernaut accented the beat. The main set ended with "Like a Sundae," and that was quickly followed by the encore, which included "The Wettest Day," one of the songs that didn't make it on to Cobra Juicy but that did make it on to the Psychic Love Damage EP.
The guitar intro for that tune sounded like a slowed-down early Blur song, but soon a a dense, kaleidoscopic array of sounds thickened the song up. The show ended with "Forever Heavy," appropriately enough, with a heady frisson of all the instruments coming together to make a blowout of blissed-out harmonics and melodious noise.