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[live review] Black Moth Super Rainbow gathering: BMSR @ the Paradise, 12.03.12


Salvador Dali is rumored to have said, “I don't do drugs, I am drugs.”

In a video for Woodshop Films, BLACK MOTH SUPER RAINBOW's frontman Tobacco (or, equally likely, someone pretending to be Tobacco), casually dressed in a yeti suit and latex mask says, “I know a lot of people think I sit around in my room and write these songs while I'm high or whatever, but it's not true. I prepare a very delicate turkey swiss sandwich, no mayo, and then I eat the sandwich, sit down, watch my favorite episode of Law & Order, then I go down to my basement, then I kind of just sit there and think about it.”

Both are solid ways to think about Black Moth Super Rainbow's music. Tobacco has repeatedly told media outlets that he doesn't make drug music, which is true -– he makes layered electronic psychedelic pop with analog instruments and well-timed dance-ready beats. But try telling that to his fans.

Live, the five-piece (Tobacco on vocals and vocoder, Seven Fields of Aphelion on keyboard and synths, Bullsmear on bass, Ryan Graveface on guitar and a ninja-masked Iffernaut on drums), accompanied by projections, looks like they could be any band psyching out at the Middlesex Lounge on a pRIMORDIAL sOUNDS night. Instead, the show plays out more like an archetypal rave scenario: Black Moth as the bemused god-DJ, strategically delivering music to an ecstatic crowd which pleads for more songs with an unusually convincing earnestness. Cobra Juicy killers like “Windshield Smasher” flow with old favorites like “Melt Me.” The Paradise's speakers give Black Moth tracks the immersive, synesthetic quality they deserve, cushioning the low ends and enabling the trademark cotton candy sweetness to ooze through the space.

According to Tobacco's Twitter, 666 people showed up to the Paradise on Monday – an appropriate tally for a band known for songs with titles like “I Think I'm Evil,” and “Born on a Day the Sun Didn't Rise.”

Since not a one of them took the opportunity to rock the latex full-face citrus mask which Cobra Juicy was officially released on, the crowd was easily identifiable: tie-dye-and-dreadlock Camp Bisco types, beat-heads, and blissed-out college kids all momentarily united into a trance state.

It's a trance state Black Moth knows they're capable of inducing. On “Hairspray Heart,” Tobacco promises “I can hypnotize you,” then immediately proves it. Too smart and too weird for the usual tricks of club and rave music, Black Moth has the uncanny ability to make a glitchy shimmer cued after a deadpan refrain of “like a fucking diamond falling from a fucking eye” buzz like the wubbiest of drops.

Black Moth only has a few shows left in this tour before they hibernate until SXSW. Their upcoming New York date later this week made it onto the New York Times weekly pop shortlist, right up there with One Direction, AnCo, and Broadway Sings Beyonce. Bisco kids aren't the only ones drinking the Cobra Kool Aid.

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