Omar Rodriguez-Lopez - The Triple Door - Friday, Oct. 19

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Omar Rodriguez-Lopez (center-left) with Bosnian Rainbows
Omar Rodriguez-Lopez served as the primary guitarist, producer, and musical navigator for godly prog rock outfit The Mars Volta for the past decade. Before that, he handled guitar duties for post-hardcore/punk luminaries At the Drive-In for the duration of their mid-nineties-early-aughts run. In addition, he's explored his dub inklings as De Facto's bassist, and collaborated with seriously cool people like John Frusciante and El-P (+ hella more). His easily found full-length recordings pile up to near fifty. I'm convinced he doesn't sleep, and grows music on a farm in his pocket! I'm pretty sure I read somewhere that he stopped breathing ambient air a few years ago, and instead just started exhaling tangential chord progressions.

If you skipped to the second paragraph: Omar is an extra cool dude. I went into Friday night's show having just listened to literally a couple hundred of his songs thinking what in the balls is this guy going to play?!?. Having, let's be honest, probably read my mind, he decided to throw me a curve ball, and play an entire set of music from a CD that won't even be out until next year. He is such a bad ass. He had with him a keyboardist named Nicci Kasper, who was hunched like a velociraptor over his instruments; drummer Deantoni Parks, who was working a minimalist three-piece kit with three of his limbs, and a sampler device with his forth; and vocalist Teri Gender Bender, who was dancing feverishly, and indulging in some primal, Tourette's-like movements all over the stage - a stage that she stretched to include the aisles, lobby, and dinner tabletops of the venue. The newly formed group is called Bosnian Rainbows. If I would have simply picked up a copy of this month's City Arts, I could have read all about them, but I had wanted to be surprised or shocked - partially because that's how his music makes me feel - so I had purposely gone into the show knowing next to nothing about what his set up would look like.

About that set up: the players were placed very close together, with some cool Virus equipment that had glowing green emblems. The layout looked pretty sweet, though Omar didn't use most of his equipment that much. He would say before their last song that they had made a lot of technical mistakes, but it sounded perfectly amazing to me. The music Bosnian Rainbows played was powerful yet concise. It was highly melodic, with Kasper forming some forceful bass lines beneath Rodriguez-Lopez's wailing guitar, and Gender Bender howling some anthemic, reverb-backed choruses. It was far more accesible than I ever would have imagined from an experimental genius like Rodriguez-Lopez, but Gender Bender made up for any semblance of normalcy with her captivating caveperson performance artistry. Also, what's more experimental for a guy like Rodriguez-Lopez than practical rock? It was a bold move, fantastically executed by perhaps the most forward-thinking composer of our time, and one that I'd go see again tonight in a heartbeat.

 
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