To get an idea of how prolific the Acid Mothers Temple musical collective is, all you had to do was take a look at the merch table Wednesday night (April 6) at the Empty Bottle. The musicians sat behind a table covered with dozens of different CDs… and even that impressive display was far from complete. In fact, the band wasn’t even selling most of the Acid Mothers Temple albums that I own, including last year’s intriguingly experimental and atmospheric release, In A to Infinity. It’s hard to keep track of all the recordings this group puts out under its various incarnations.
On this tour, the band is calling itself Acid Mothers Temple and the Melting Paraiso U.F.O., which is the longest-running and most famous version of AMT. Its latest record — and one that dominated Wednesday’s performance — is Pink Lady Lemonade — You’re From Outer Space, which is apparently some sort of sequel or makeover of a 2008 album of the same name by a different version of the band, Acid Mothers Temple & the Cosmic Inferno. Huh? Confused yet?
Beyond all the confusing nomenclature and baffling discography problems, Acid Mothers Temple stands out as a bunch of musicians who love to jam out. And that’s precisely what they did at the Bottle, with the four-musician lineup bending its tunes more toward the Jimi Hendrix guitar-rock end of the spectrum than usual. There were a few moments of needless goofing around, but for the most part, AMT bore down and dug into its epic songs, including the four-part, album-length “Pink Lady Lemonade.” The concert’s climax — before the encore — ended with one of the guitars hanging from the ceiling.
As far as I could tell, the members of Acid Mothers Temple made no reference Wednesday night to the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear troubles back in their homeland, it was hard not to think about it while watching these Japanese musicians. One of the concert’s most impressive and moving moments came when the band stopping playing its instruments for a few minutes and chanted a cappella. Like most of the audience, I had no idea what they were singing, but it felt like the voices were commanding: Stop what you’re doing and listen to this.