“I don’t need any!” The sound tech stared up at him blankly. “I don’t need any in mine.” Dear God, was he talking about his monitor?
He sure as hell was. And in a few short seconds, we found out why. There’s absolutely no reason Kawabata Makoto, or anyone from Acid Mothers Temple, would need extra volume onstage. From his first maniacal riff, every muscle and bone in the Knitting Factory was pierced with what was easily the loudest thing I’ve ever experienced as a human. Our guts took a punch as he shredded, and somewhere between dimensions, it occurred to me that gunshots or fireworks could have literally gone unnoticed. So this is how they do it in Japan!
We’d already had a good warmup from Mounds, an ungoogleable duo from Michigan who poured organ riffs over thunderous drums, and we were ready to lose our minds. Acid Mothers Temple made sure of that. The 6-piece tore into complex melodies we could barely understand, all while riffing on the same two or three chords until they lost all meaning. Our ears instantly popped airplane-style (and stayed that way for a few days, I can report), which is an ailment that calls for some serious headbanging. The crowd was happy to thrash as the wall of vibrations smashed into their faces and a fat joint made its way around the room. You really haven’t rocked until you’ve seen a stern Japanese man do a burlesque dance in plastic rainboots, green hair, and a neon thong.
Acid Mothers Temple have been doing their thing since ‘95 with a variety of name and lineup changes, and their blaring, psychedelic krautrock is still physically damaging in all the best ways. But even in the thick of it, there was a strange kind of peace that seemed to emanate from Higashi Hiroshi. His long grey hair and flowered pants flowed gently in a mysterious breeze that truly came out of nowhere. Wielding nothing but air, he commanded the theremin like a sorcerer, his sagacious eyes darting to follow his own fingers. He was the eye of the storm, and the storm itself was beautiful and terrifying. And in those moments especially, you could see why people get addicted to the Acid Mothers Temple experience. What a night.
Article: Olivia Isenhart
Photos: Shayne Hanley