For a Night, the Bug Jar Becomes Acid Mothers Temple

The Bug Jar, in Rochester, is “Your Bar on Earth” as the sign on the door proclaims. But what happens when five purveyors of deep psychedelia visit from Japan and launch it and everyone inside out into the cosmos? Such was the case on May 10, and for one evening, the Bug Jar became the Acid Mothers Temple.

Acid Mothers Temple & the Melting Paraiso U.F.O, opened their set in cacophony, a deep unsettling rumble that announced the journey was about to begin. They settled into a Morricone-esque sound, a languid slow-motion trek, samurais navigating a desolate landscape. By journey’s end, the band was engaging in some supremely intense rocking, and from there we were off.

No matter where the music started, guitarist Kawabata Makoto carved out space for some ridiculous shredding. Whether it was full-throttle metal, rhythmic rock, electric Miles Davis-style fusion, slow and spacey drone, or avant arhythmic weirdness, it all wound around to some showcase-level soloing from Makoto.

Synthesizer shaman Higashi Hiroshi meanwhile was twisting and turning knobs, eliciting otherworldly whistles and squonks from his equipment. He kindly turned back a shot offered from the audience to grease his wheels, but he did use WD-40 to liberally grease up his keyboard throughout the set.

Jyonson Tsu added vocals and rhythm guitar and bouzouki and Ron Anderson held down the low-end. Satoshima Nani sat behind it all, holding it together and driving it ever onward with masterful drumming and boundless energy.

Repetitive grooves broke down slowly into weird nether regions, or otherwise built up to gloriously locked-in hyper-funk. It was music to get lost in. Then Makoto would light a fuse and the eventual explosion jarred you back to consciousness. In a final flourish, Acid Mothers Temple engaged an unadulterated full-band chaos, with Nani and Makoto reaching for new levels of craziness. It culminated in Makoto hanging his guitar from the ceiling, the burning embers of his last solo still glowing as the Bug Jar landed back home, one again “Your Bar on Earth.”

My Education, a six-piece out of Austin Texas got things warmed up nicely. As the band tuned up on stage, it started to take shape into something more. Had the set started? The dissonance swelled and eventually congealed into a singular force. What followed was a set filled with rhythmic cinematic post-rock. Drummer Earl Bowers was the centerpiece, though as they locked into a rhythm, when they were all playing the role of drummer, was when the music shined brightest.

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