Like the best psychedelic trips, Black Moth Super Rainbow induces a spiritual euphoria that reverberates through your consciousness, setting you afloat in a gently undulating melody on the sea of purring vocoders, dainty synths, and syncopated beats…and that’s just the studio stuff. Live-action BMSR transports you into their technical, color daydream, and leads you through a literal forest of sound orchestrated by front man Tobacco. The Holocene played host to a varied crew of head-nodders, foot-planted swayers, flat-out hyper-dancers, and butterflies, yes, neon-colored-body-suited tinsel-winged human butterflies (or maybe they were moths).
Lumerians first lit up the curved wall of the stage with their energetic space-rock psychedelia. Literally lit up. The 5 piece band is accompanied by a skilled VJ who perfectly accentuated the keyboard driven ecstatic sound. The blend of colors, shapes, and beats cast a blooming glow over the band members who pounded out an exhilarating opening set.
When three quarters of the audience returned from their smoke break, the reverie resumed as BMSR took the stage and warmed up their synthesizers with the first few notes of a tune off of their sentinel album Dandelion Gum. For one of the kings of neo-psychedelia, Tobacco (Tom Fec) does not fit a barefoot, bearded, face painted, or day-glo stereotype. Intentionally obscured by his equipment, Tobacco looked more like your average baseball cap/t-shirt wearing dude than neon hipster synth-god, a good foil to the masked ninja drummer.
First set against what is no doubt a wooded trail in BMSR’s native Pennsylvania, the landscape slowly (but surely) became increasingly surreal. It was difficult to avert your eyes from the lush green landscape as it transitioned into a pair of swingsets with a nuclear power plant in the distance and a ghoulish figure popping in and out of each scene. So, we descended into the day-glo trance, some closing their eyes to savor the whirring, effervescent ripples of sweet analog electronica.
Sensory overload, and an all encompassing euphoria made even the most rigid of Portlanders nod their heads and shake their hips a little more than normal for a Wednesday night. All cares of the mid week were effortlessly washed away by Black Moth as they entrapped their wide-eyed crowd with the likes of “Sun Lips” and “Lollpopsichord.” Smiles and cheers abounded to an encore where we were all lost, picking flowers in the woods. Black Moth veteran and novice alike departed Holocene in a hazy daze that is the tell tale sign of the thoroughly blown mind.
Words by Bex Silver
Photos by Ryan Dornfeld