What is it with some of my countrymen? I think it comes as an honest-to-god SHOCK to some of them that there are people who don't speak English out there. Before the Acid Mothers Temple show Sunday night (dubbed Acid Mother's Day, clever huh?), I was at the merch table checking out what they had for me to buy when some duder was having a really hard time trying to find out why there was no Acid Mother's vinyl for sale. He kept talking very sloooowly as you would to a child who is mentally retarded and was visibly flustered and kept saying "Well you know, it's a rather common practice for bands to press their albums on to vinyl." I could just see Higashi and Kawabata sitting there thinking, "Fuck you guy, we're going home where we can play pachinko and buy school girl's worn underwear in a couple weeks." The opening act were some band called The Antarcticans who weren't bad but they kinda need to get over the whole Godspeed thing.
The Acid Mothers took the stage to Atsushi-san greeting us in perfect Engrish by saying "Herro Detroit Rock City, happy Acid Mother's Day, how many of you are mother fuckers?" It was already shaping up to be an interesting show. Half the fun is just watching them play. They're not the types of dudes you see every day. I was thinking about what it must be like on tour for them in the middle of nowhere when they stop for gas at 3 in the morning and the guy working at the gas station sees a tall Japanese guy with long silver hair and long pointy beard in pyjama pants walking around the store. Some people just aren't ready for that. I find Japanese hippies to be infinitely cooler than the American brand. I guess when you have a culture that's already a little weird to begin with and then you add LSD into the equation you're just bound to come up with something more fun than kicking around a hacky sack in your birks and twirling devil sticks with a Bob Marley disc playing. But I digress. I was hoping to hear more of the heavy, sludgy, Black Sabbath-meets-Flower Travellin Band type of stuff (which there was some of) but the majority of the show was more along the lines of jazzy free form psych space rock with a lot of feedback freak-out breakdowns and just pure Eddie Hazel-style cosmic slop rock-n-roll. Another thing that's great about Acid Mothers is how their brand of psych isn't blues based like so many of the 60's American and British bands, but is based more on droning eastern ragas, and fed through Marshall stacks and loads of effects pedals it turns into whole different creature. I like to think of it as some form of electric Zen buddhism, because it has that effect on the mind. It occupies the front part of your brain with its mantra (the part that worries about your bills, putting gas in the car, paying rent, etc. etc.) and lets the rest of the mind wander. It's a little reminder that there is a lot more to being human than slaving away to buy a false sense of happiness. That there's more of "us" than there are of "them" and if everybody one day decided to burn their passports and their flags and their credit card bill, that there's nothing "they" will be able to do about it. They got the guns but we got the numbers. I know it all sounds really naive and utopian but it's not a bad fantasy to have, and besides, everyone loves an underdog. That's why I'm glad there are bands like this. I know I'm not the only one who feels this way. You just have to throw those seeds to the wind and hope they find purchase somewhere. You'll have to forgive me for all the hippie drivel, my mind is still reeling from the dose of Acid Mothers. Oh and by the way that's all I was on Sunday night, just the feedback, no drugs of any sort so this isn't some sort of post-lysergic revelation or anything. I'll be back to my jaded, cynical self in a couple days I'm sure. It's just nice to know you can slip into that every now and then when you need a reminder that it's not all that bad. That if you free your mind, your ass will follow, no matter what sort of limitations the material world has placed on you. After the show I stopped by the merch table to try and pick out one of the 2 dozen or so CDs for sale. I settled on the Acid Mothers Temple Soul Collective Tour 2003 disc, mainly because there was a pic of Cotton Casino on the cover and I sorta have a thing for her. There are 3 long pieces on it from various Acid Mothers side projects. The first is a gorgeous electric guitar space symphony done solo by Kawabata Makoto that starts off with what sounds like an improv for about 15 minutes before breaking into the familiar melody of Pink Lady Lemonade. The second piece is a side project of Cotton Casino and Higashi Hiroshi called Duo. It's a moog/synth/keyboard soundtrack for spacewalks, ethereal blips and bloops for floating weightlessly through the starlit black void. And finally, as almost an antithesis to the previous 2 pieces is Tsurubami, a 3 piece with Kawabata and Higashi and Emi Nobuko. This is an all improvised, recorded live, corrosive metallic noisy sonic punishment. After a couple minutes it mellows out and settles into an uneasy truce with your ears in an electric drone before going back into the cacophonous squalling and ending on a note of screeching feedback.