June 26, 2012
Omar Rodriguez-Lopez, known for his music with The Mars Volta and At the Drive In, made his second appearance with his current musical project, Bosnian Rainbows at the Observatory last night, months after making their debut just down the hall on the smaller Constellation Room stage. The band (featuring Lopez on guitar, singer Teri Gender Bender, drummer/sampler Deantoni Parks, and keyboard/synth player Nicci Kasper) played to several hundred fans at the Observatory last night, in a show that was musically haunting, and soulful.
The band walked out to cheers from a group of hardcore fans, which already knew the songs and lyrics, even though the album was just released on Tuesday. Vocalist Teri “Gender Bender” Suarez from Mexican punk band Le Buctherettes was never in one place throughout the entire set, flailing and running around the stage one minute, the next kneeling into the crowd looking fans in the eye touching their hands, making a very cerebral, connection with fans, especially those in the front row. While in an instant she'd be in the floor convulsing, with the music fuel for her flexibility and momentum.
Bosnian Rainbows played all the songs on the eponymous debut album, and Lopez seemed comfortable behind the guitar and as a whole unit with the trio of instrumentalists, and Suarez.
Fans of Mars Volta and other music by Lopez will not be disappointed by this new band, But, do not let that fool you, Bosnian Rainbows is a band, a collaborative effort, and this performance proved it. The band had a unique chemistry onstage; and the music was progressive and all over the place, from electro guitar rock, ambient noise, to experimental noise, jazz, and more influences, Bosnian Rainbows ripped through a set that lasted about an hour.
Fans in the house swayed and grooved with each song, full of raw powerful harmonies and mystic layers of sound. The band was drenched in sweat by the end of the night, and the energy of the venue was palpable in the air.
Show openers Northern California based trio Sister Crayon made perfect sense for this tour, because they brought out a similar vibe, with a hint of darkness and mystique that any other ordinary indie rock band might not have conjured. With a live drummer, and the use of drum machines, distortion pedals, synths, organ tones, and other noises, vocalist Terra Lopez performed a dazzling, haunting mix of atmospheric dark wave/electronic music. The songs were reminiscent of Fiona Apple, but had so many hidden notes and rhythms within walls of melancholy and musical static. This was the band's first performance in Santa Ana, and fans seemed to be impressed with this up and coming musical trio.
Direct support for Bosnian Rainbows came from Rodriguez-Lopez broth Marcel, aka DJ Eureka The Butcher, who unpacked a flood of ambient, and intricate beats and samples. He performed parts of his set with the very beautiful Sadah Luna, a belly dancer, whose exotic, erotic moves and dancing kept both the men and women in the crowd in awe. Her sensual gyrations and overwhelming beauty gave the show a sexy visual aesthetic that really stood out.
The Crowd: This was a diverse mix of fans. From Indie rock and underground fans to everyday college kids and couples on dates, from teenagers to people in their mid 40s, most in attendance were fans of At The Drive In, and also Mars Volta. Some were even heard between performances yelling 'Mars Volta,' or various At the Drive In songs. A very mellow but enthusiastic and 'hip' crowd of music fans.
Overheard: Just before opening act Sister Crayon was about to perform, and the odd silence filled the floor, some random dude in a tank top yelled out, “Where are you guys from?” When vocalist Terra Lopez answered “The Bay Area,” the dude replied out loud, “Newport Beach?” to which his friends laughed/ all looked at him in shame.
Random Notebook Dump: Bosnian Rainbows is on a current West Coast Tour, and will be touring most of the year, in the States and in other countries. This show was the band's debut in Orange County, but the band played the previous night at a church in LA. From the reaction of fans tonight, this won't be the last time that we see this band in Orange County.