Acid Mothers Temple
April 4th, 2011
Roland Edirol R-09 (SBD feed) > GoldWave (first 2:33 of band soundchecking/jamming with Pink Floyd's "Pigs (Three Different Ones)" on the PA snipped due to copyright concerns) > WaveLab (Puncher (hard density, 75% effect, 0% output gain) + SL-1 StereoExpander (100%)) > CDWAV (tracks split and saved as .FLAC level 8 ) > foobar2000 (Tags + ReplayGain)
Location: The sounds are coming from INSIDE THE PA!!
Roland Edirol R-09HR (onboard mics) > GoldWave (levels boosted, joined with SBD source)
Patch location: House front-center, about ~15 feet from stage
Taper: ZaPenguin (zappa.penguin(AT)gmail.com or
SBD man: Chris
SOUND QUALITY: A+/A (I can't help but grin as I think back to Chris's concerned nod towards the R-09HR, wanting to make sure I had run an AUD signal because he had not run the guitar through the PA - and my own worries that a matrix would be necessary. "Fret" not, guitar fans, there is PLENTY of bleed-through here, enough to masquerade as bona-fide mix-inclusion. This recording is slightly drum-dominated, but not to any degree where it becomes a distraction. And did I mention it's in glorious STEREO, to boot?)
Tsuyama Atsushi: monster bass, voice, cosmic joker
Higashi Hiroshi: synth, guitar, voice, dancin'king
Shimura Koji: drums, latino cool
Kawabata Makoto: guitar, voice, speed guru
01. "Space Ritual Jam" (q: Pigs (Three Different Ones)) [5:36]
02. "Have You Seen..." [0:39]
03. > Chinese Flying Saucer [9:08]
04. "To the People, For the People, By the People" [0:32]
05. La Novia [14:26]
06. "Tsuyama Flute Interlude" [2:09]
07. > Pink Lady Lemonade [21:58]
08. > Cometary Orbital Drive > Speed Guru [12:06]
"Acid Mothers Temple & the Melting Paraiso U.F.O. (and subsequent offshoots) is a Japanese psychedelic band founded in 1995 by members of the Acid Mothers Temple soul-collective. The band is led by guitarist Kawabata Makoto and early in their career featured many musicians but by 2004 the line-up had coalesced with 4 core members and frequent vocal guests.
The band have a reputation for phenomenal live shows, and releasing frequent albums on a number of international record labels, as well as the Acid Mothers Temple family record label which was established in 1998 to document the activities of the whole collective."
- Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia which every 14 year old has edited.
Due to extreme length, I figure it's best to break this up into two sections.
As the final echoes of the Acid Mothers drifted over the Salt Lake City area, so too did a carpeting of large, fluffy snow crystals. The sort of flakes that are as big as your eye socket, laden with the sort of thick, slushy snow that makes for excellent snowballs.
Faced with a thick swath of conflicting weather reports from the laughable excuse for a website run by weather.com (seriously, why is "travel conditions" a list of weather stations and "travel forecast" a terrible video? Why can't you manage to find space for the word "video" somewhere in the latter link?), LqStuart and your intrepid taper collectively shrugged our shoulders and resolved to re-evaluate our trip to Denver once waking from our comfy Crystal Inn beds.
Upon awakening, we were faced with the most grim, dismal, desolate of scenes: Salt Lake City, Utah, on a Sunday morning.
Folks, I've been places. I've been in Baltimore at 2AM on a weeknight. I've been in Houston right after the Enron collapse. I've found myself locked out of my car at one in the morning in Wrightwood, a tiny mountain town on the very, very outskirts of L.A. (in much the same way that Waterbury is on the outskirts of New York City). All of these places were busier than the streets of Salt Lake City on a Sunday morning.
So, with the distractions of hustling, bustling urban life thoughtfully minimized (in much the same way your 4th grade teacher waits until the rest of the kids are at recess to have a Serious Conversation about the disturbing doodle someone sitting at your desk left on the surface of the aforementioned), LqStuart and I carefully considered our options:
1) I-80 to Cheyenne, I-25 south to Denver. Pros: Quickest, most direct route; few mountains. Cons: One of the few stretches of the continental US more desolate than Salt Lake City on a Sunday morning; snow and wind could very well result in us starving to death before an emaciated passing vulture offered us the chance to tie an SOS note to its talons.
2) I-15 south to US-6/50 east to I-70 east to Denver. Pros: South of I-80, and as we all know, south always equals less snow; weather.com showed temperatures in the 50s and sun through most of the journey; less desolate than I-80 in Wyoming. Cons: Mountainous, twisty; about two hours or so extra travel time; state route signage means potential lack of median strips.
3) Stay in Salt Lake City and wait for the storm to pass. Pros: Safe. Cons: This is how people end up living in Salt Lake City.
Thumbing our nose at option #3 while doing our best to contain shudders of terror at the "worst case scenario" outlined in option #1, we decided on the middle ground.
Much like the Donner party, at first it seemed we had made the correct decision. About fifty miles out of Salt Lake City, the grey clouds suddenly gave way to blue skies, and the wetness on the road quickly faded to beautiful, parched asphalt. We took a deep breath as we turned off onto US-6/50, and while it was certainly less than ideal in places (imagine a two-lane, twisty and gently-snowkissed stretch of rather desolate mountain road, complete with sign pointing to Starvation Road - yes, This Actually Exists™), we eventually found ourselves on I-70. Fingers crossed, we made our way to the first big human settlement - an evolved crossroads known to the world as "Glenwood Springs". It was there where, fingers still crossed, we pulled up our various assortment of weather and travel sites, hoping to catch a sneak peek at conditions ahead while doing our best to use touch-screen navigation with gnarled, crossed digits.
"Horror" is not really the most apt word here. More low-key than that. So it was to our "glum resignation" that we found that a stretch of I-70 had, in fact, been closed, due to snowdrift conditions. With more concrete details, such as estimated time of re-opening or even just a guesstimate of amount of snow on the road, eluding us (thanks, weather.com - bully great site!), we mashed our heads against our respective headrests and evaluated our new set of options:
1) US-50 south and through the mountains east to Pueblo, I-25 north to Denver. Pros: Even more south than I-70, so it naturally follows that there'd be even less snow; dotted with many settlements along the way (certainly less barren than I-80 through Wyoming); theoretically possible to make it to Denver in time for the show. Cons: US route, meaning lack of guarenteed niceities such as passing lanes and concrete barriers.
2) Stay in Glenwood Springs, re-evaluate in the morning. Pros: Safe, level-headed, reasoned. Cons: This is how people end up living in Glenwood Springs.
3) Turn around, go back to Salt Lake, take I-80 through Wyoming while hoping the snow's largely melted. Pros: Gives us a third option. Cons: Absolutely everything, not a serious option.
So, our hearts resolved to give the Denver show every last damn shot of our attendance, we hunkered down, noses to the wheel, shoulders to the grindstone, eyes to the ground and ears in the clouds, and - after some downright unhelpful suggestions from LqStuart's GPS which furthered my case that a GPS on a cross-country, highway-dominated roadtrip is a complete and utter waste of time (not to mention strictly amateurish) - managed to get on US-50 pointing the right direction.
We hit a small town (or suburb of Grand Junction) called Orchard Mesa, where for some perverse reason the locals choose to name their streets in fractionals (here I thought the sign saying "B 3/4 street" might have meant "this is B street, and you can also access 3rd and 4th streets from this weird triangle junction" - but by the time we hit 29 1/2th street, such naive ideas were completely crushed); a little town called Delta where we encountered a grand total of three (3) pedestrians over the course of at least ten town-blocks; and a quaint little place called Montrose, of which I have absolutely no memory.
Of course, it comes with no surprise that as we left Montrose, we saw a sign dutifully informing us that, yes, US-50 had been closed ahead as well. We decided we might as well get a room and contemplate mutual murder-suicide for a bit. LqStuart's fancies were triggered by an illuminated highway sign advertising the Country Lodge, and while yours truly did his best to correct LqStuart's completely naive notion that such a place would be outfitted with flat-screen TVs (amongst his many habits is a compulsive need to play Marvel vs. Capcom 3 in hotel/motel rooms), LqStuart would hear none of it.
While this entire account has already gone on for far too long and is already knee-deep in potential reader-disinterest, it's an absolute necessity that I give a friendly shout-out to the staff of the Country Lodge in Montrose, CO. They were about the friendliest, most personable resort lodge staff you could possibly hope to encounter, offering LqStuart a discount for no reason other than sheer good cheer. Of course, upon entering our rustic country-lodge-themed room, LqStuart was absolutely beside himself with grief at the sight of a 15" Sanyo CRT. After your dutiful reporter spent forty-five minutes tuning out LqStuart's caremad suicidal bellyaching bullshit, it was finally decided that we would head back up to Glenwood Springs and press as deep through I-70 as we could before finding a place more to his prissy, pampered sensibilities. Because LqStuart felt overcome with guilt (justly) at the thought of seeing the staff after such a brief stay, it was decided that I would have the honor of returning our room keys and making up an excuse about I-70 opening back up.
We considered the room fee one of those "sunk costs" one encounters in life. That said, earlier today, while cracking my knuckles and starting work on the audio contained within this torrent, LqStuart informed me that the Country Lodge front-desk lady had called him, wanting to make sure that he was in fact the owner of the credit card used to book the room, and giving him a full refund, saying that she felt bad about billing us for a forty-five minute stay. There's simply nothing I can add to that - these are Good People, and those reading can darn well bet their respective booties that if I should ever find myself in the general area again, I will make it a point to stay here "for real", HDTVs and detachable shower heads be damned. Comfy beds, too.
So, after a fun game of "Let's Try To Find A Place In Resortville I-70 That Isn't Booked - What Do You Mean All You Have Available Is A $200/night Jacuzzi Suite!?" succeeded by a round of "Let's Drive Twenty Miles Back To The Ramada Inn" and a lengthy 3AM biographical dialogue with the front desk clerk while LqStuart indulged in an actual eight-hour sleep, we woke up, cracked our knuckles, said a silent prayer of gratitude for the forces that led to me calling the single place in 50 miles with vacancies, and headed for I-70, For Keepsies this time. Of course, we ran out of wiper fluid, bought a bottle of wiper fluid for $5, found that the wiper fluid jets had frozen, and had enough time to perfect a highly synchronized manuever involving me throwing cupfuls of wiper fluid out the passenger window just in time to be caught by the wiper blades of LqStuart's family sedan and pushed over to the driver's side, where they could hopefully offer a small lane of visibility before quickly re-succumbing to the ravages of salty slush-spray. Traffic outside of Denver was pretty horrible, since it's a great idea to do road maintenance two days before the pre-announced road closure for rock removal, and block off a solid four miles of the right lane when all you really need is a single mile at a time. For fuck's sake, people! You're almost as bad as those feebs who schedule the roadwork on the PA Turnpike!
Compared to I-70, eastern Colorado and western Nebraska were a complete non-event, punctuated by many a high-five and fist-bump as various parts of the car unfroze and started working as normal once more.
As far as the show goes... it was loud. Very loud. Really loud. Incredibly loud. Louder-than-the-Ottobar loud. Easily the loudest venue at which I've ever had the privilege of seeing the Acid Mothers. We arrived about mid-way through the opening-opening act (some guy on solo psych-guitar whose name I was unable to catch), and due to a miscalculation on my part regarding the difference between Soundcheck and First Song, I was unable to talk with the soundman until Shilpa Ray & her Happy Hookers had concluded their set - so no soundboard of them.
Chris, the sound guy, did an incredible, bang-up job. The Bourbon is, as the name implies, a converted theatre, with high balcony seating and an altogether cavernous layout. Basically the State Theatre in Falls Church minus the dining seating. Faced with a huge room and a band that spoke scattered English - not to mention Hiroshi's synth being near-death (apparently it totally gave out sometime after this show, as the band was looking for a synth repairman on their way to Minnesota, and Hiroshi was using a different synth the night after in Chicago). Given these hurdles, he really came through in the crunch, managing a thick fist of sound that punched the listener in the gut but never drowned out the high-end highlights.
As I mentioned above, way back during the "sound quality" section, Chris was concerned that the guitar wouldn't be present at all. No need for worries, Mr. Kawabata must have set his amp to 11 because the vocal mic bleed-through here is more than enough to satiate all but the most guitar-crazy listener. It even very nearly manages to drown out the (PA'd) rhythm guitar in places, thus lending a complete air of authenticity to the recording.
With a recording this great, it's fortunate that the band manages to put aside the technical difficulties and put on a damn fine (though once again far-too-short) show. While I can't include the neat little portion of the soundcheck where Tsuyama starts singing and playing along with Pink Floyd's "Pigs (Three Different Ones)", you can hear him singing the main refrain during the intro jam. Someone other than Tsuyama handles the Chinese Flying Saucer intro (I can't honestly tell if it's Mr. Higashi or Mr. Kawabata), and I get a kick out of hearing the band crack up while Tsuyama adopts a brute-force approach to prepositions in the "Acid Mothers Temple: To the Peoples, By the Peoples, For the Peoples" interlude. Tsuyama is doing great things with his sample loops, using wall-of-loops to great effect during La Novia (it's about time they started playing this song regularly again!) and the flute-intro to Pink Lady Lemonade.
LqStuart: Driving through Nebraska after the Rockies is like feeling my ass close up after an enormous shit.
If the weather doesn't want you going through the Rockies, you're not getting through the Rockies. I spoke with Justin and the bassist for Shilpa Ray after this show, and based on their accounts (I-80 with random snow-drifts and frosted-over wiper fluid outlets), I think we made the right decision in our path selection, even if it did not result in actually making the Denver show. At least there's STUFF along I-70.
REQUESTS & REMINDERS:
Do not sell this recording. Do not buy this recording. Do not sell this recording, then buy it from yourself. If you think a 500% markup on a bottle of wiper fluid is outrageous, you've never driven I-70 without it.
Chris - Board Ops
LqStuart - Driver, Jaunty GTalk Gentry
Torrented by the taper: ZaPenguin
email - zappa.penguin(AT)gmail.com
web - http://db.etree.org/zappapenguin (always woefully out of date)
Band page: http://www.acidmothers.com