HYPEWORTHY: Bosnian Rainbows at Terminal West ATL
Written and Photographed by Jackson Stone
Omar Rodriguez Lopez has had a unique musical career. First came his heightened success in At the Drive-In, a band whose identity became synonymous with some of punk’s great and whose stage presence was laced in unbridled adrenalin. Next came Lopez’ work in The Mars Volta, a progressive project that initially carried on the traditions of Mahivishnu Orchestra and later moved into the psychedelic realms of experimental music. With both acts, Lopez drew interest and a following to his personal, spastic style of musical creativity. When The Mars Volta finally decided to hang it up, they had gained a very large following, and Lopez was at the peak of his success in the music industry. While I heard that he released a solo album or two after the breakup of The Mars Volta, Lopez went relatively under the radar for me personally until just around the beginning of July 2013 when I was told about a new band he had started called Bosnian Rainbows. I was fortunate enough to get the opportunity to see them open their latest tour in Atlanta on July 10th. I listened to a couple tracks very briefly upon hearing about them but didn’t have a full understanding of their artistic aim until I saw them live. And having said that, I have a name for you: Teri Gender-Bender.
I had read somewhere prior to the show that Lopez had likened Teri to a female Iggy Pop. He wasn’t far off. Bosnian Rainbows live performance was filled with energy, but unlike Lopez’ previous bands, he wasn’t at the center of it. In this project, Teri Gender-Bender’s mic-wielding is the focal point for the live energy of the band, and I have to say I was very impressed by two things in particular. First, Teri has an outstanding voice. Her vocal range is impressive, and while her delivery is somewhat unorthodox at times, she has plenty of power behind her high soaring vocal lines that she jumps into sporadically. The second thing that really caught my attention was Teri’s ability to engage the crowd. When the show opened the audience was reserved and watchful as the band’s front lady skipped onto the stage and launched into her quirky performance. But by the second half of the set, Teri Gender-Bender had audience members on the front row believing that she was THEIR personal fan. She did everything from holding audience member’s hands, to pressing her forehead on their hand, to taking a video phone from one person at the very front and singing into it as she bounced around the stage, to eventually inviting roughly 20 or so eager individuals from the crowd onto the stage to dance with her. And all the while, through all of the kind gestures toward the audience and her adorable antics, Teri seemed wild, untamed and, at times, downright savage. Bosnian Rainbows as a band were tight. The music felt much more controlled and almost pop-structured than Lopez’ previous efforts. And contrary to previous stage setups, the Bosnian Rainbows plot was much more consolidated and synth-centric. Through the combination of Teri Gender-Bender’s energetic array of stage-play, Omar’s signature style of glitched-out guitar work, a powerful rhythm section and a varied conglomeration of synths, Bosnian Rainbows offered a Technicolor dose of unique, auditory and visual delight. It was a pleasure to see them perform live, and I will definitely be following them closely as an avid, new fan.
To check out Bosnian Rainbows and get tickets to upcoming shows click here.