June 1st, 2009 |

It was easy to forget that there was a band onstage during tonight’s Troubadour set by Black Moth Super Rainbow. With what may be best described as a half-man, half-ape prancing around in the foreground and an array of absurd videos projecting on a screen behind them, the four players seemed content to labor in relative obscurity. Their fuzzy riffs, heavy beats and vocoder-ized vocals were a fitting—although perhaps a bit homogeneous—soundtrack to the psychedelic sideshows that competed for the audience’s attention. When he wasn’t inexplicably waving around an Axis & Allies box, the ape-man was pulling young women onto the stage to dance, crowd-surfing, or climbing the rigging. More intriguing was the video accompaniment, which included a man engaging in some heavy petting with a mannequin, Eric Wareheim of Tim and Eric fame arguing that Black Moth Super Rainbow are not douches, and a dead-animal cleanup crew. In School of Seven Bells’ opening set, twin sisters Alejandra and Claudia Deheza harmonized gorgeously and chanted hypnotically over primal beats and shoegazing guitars. Even if the prerecorded bass was a tad too loud, the overall sound was thick and enrapturing, prompting at least one listener to close his eyes and imagine soaring over those jagged, snowy mountain peaks on the cover of the band’s debut, Alpinisms. For two groups with such wordy monikers (the tickets labeled the show simply “BMSR/SOSB”), both refreshingly refrained from talking in between songs, perhaps to not distract from the music. That was the ape-man’s job.

Thomas McMahon