Shilpa Ray and her Happy Hookers - OK, I already did the compare and contrast with Nico cliche that she is probably tired of hearing at her show at the 9:30 club opening for Grinderman. That was a nice blast of music that worked well enough on the big stage, but was not brought to cozier environs tonight. 40 to 50 people were quietly entranced by the fine set Ms. Ray and her three cohorts provided. The rhythm section set the foundation as is usually the case, while the guitarist wailed away with an energetic yet not overpowering set of chords. Ray's harmonium is a welcome addition to the usual rock band instruments, but her powerful voice is the star. It's bluesy and she has a great control of the dynamics. Kudos to the soundman for adjusting the levels so her highs did not overpower the PA as they did in an early song. The music had a Nick Cave/16 Horsepower feel which is a mighty nice place for we listeners to be a part of. They played a hot 45 minutes and surely won over a few new fans. Their name is now locked into my memory as one that will trigger a response to add them to my calendar the next time they come to town.
Acid Mothers Temple and the Melting Paraiso U.F.O. - Speaking of cliches, the easy one with this band is to call them the Japanese Hawkwind. They keep it simple with drums, bass, and monster guitar and have one guy play some simple rhythm guitar or make great spacey runs on his Roland synthesizer. They begin with a long succulent jam from their latest album "Pink Lady Lemonade" and then move on to some rocking songs that fit nicely into the mix. There are few breaks, but a couple of real rock songs in the psychedelic stew. The sound was loud and strong and this may have been the best show of theirs I have seen (of three, although I saw Kawabata play solo and guest with about four other bands at Terrastock). The crowd swelled to about 60 or more and it was interesting to see that many of them were dancing, bobbing, weaving and swaying to the groove. Psyche crowds are low-key (like me) but the music was intoxicating enough to get the majority moving. I was thinking that fresh off of my metal show the night before, that why aren't more metalheads at shows like this? A set like this a great fit that all but the most narrow minded metal freaks would get off on. It is a tricky world where you can find any music you want, but learning where to branch out of your comfort zone does take effort. Although not everyone has to cover the amount of genres and sub-genres that I do, I really hope to see more audiences bleeding into each other as life goes on. But for now, I certainly can recommend this band to people who like it heavy and like it spacey. Always a treat.
Quote of the Night: Right before the last number, Shilpa Ray and her band had this chuckle inducing exchange:
SR "This is our last song, so let's be real quiet now..." ...pause...
Drummer in a whisper "... any time now..."
Bassist "This is the soundcheck, right?"