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New York Cool - Music

Black Moth Super Rainbow,
Blank Dogs, and Dan Friel
July 24, 2009

Written by Joshua Williams
Photographed by Amy Davidson

Opposite: Black Moth Super Rainbow


Let’s get straight to it. This was the seaport’s most adventurous offering yet. They did not play it safe, and they should be rewarded and commended for it. I’m talking about putting on a show with Dan Friel, Blank Dogs, and Black Moth Super Rainbow.

Dan Friel
Dan Friel

Dan Friel’s engages in experimental synth pop. Like a mad audio scientist, he uses a keyboard and runs them through numerous outboard effects and stompboxes. Constantly bopping his head throughout his performance, the compositions run from simple pop to extreme noise. One complaint is that it seemed levels were set a bit too high. That’s more of a fault of the soundboard then the artist however. And well, he’s better to listen to than to watch. It gets a little boring watching a guy sit in a chair for a half an hour.

Blank Dogs
Blank Dogs

Blank Dogs

Next was Blank Dogs. Comprised of a regular four-piece combo with the addition of synth and sax players, the dogs are definitely influenced by lo-fi and no-wave movements as well as early death rock stuff. There’s also a blues surf element, a la The Horrors, in there somewhere. My problem with this band was they were drowning themselves in modulation. It was to the point of indecipherability as it pertained to the singer. I always understood lo-fi as more of an attitude than a movement. You don’t need fancy gear to make a compelling recording. But going out of your way to make your live sound indecipherable takes away from the positive elements of your set. You can run hot and raw on stage and not have that polished sound. Drowning it with ring mods, phasers and delay turned good songs into music jello.

Black Moth Super Rainbow

Black Moth Super Rainbow
Black Moth Super Rainbow

And then the treat of the evening. Black Moth Super Rainbow. There’s no point in trying to describe this. Look at the pics. I will say this about them musically—their drummer is amazing. By providing a solid foundation, the costumed “lead” singer can pantomime the lyrics of the semi-obscured “real” singer, and engage the crowd, fling tortilla chips and pita bread and feed a banana to the crowd. Added to the multiple synths and guitar, it almost seems like it has a point. Maybe one day I will figure out what that exactly is.

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