[PSYCH ROCK] If I felt slightly out of place stepping into the dark, smoke-filled Towne Lounge this past Friday (I was, after all, holding a Care Bear notepad and pink pen), my worries were soon assuaged: This was to be a feel-good rock feast of great proportions—brought forth by three Northwest psychedelia stalwarts.
Bonanza City started off the night with a set of eerie, sinister experimental rock (lesson No. 1: minor chords = creepy). Though one unimpressed show-goer described the local quartet's walking bass lines and wailing guitars as "like splicing together the unlistenable parts of every Mars Volta song," there was still plenty of interest from the mostly attentive crowd. As the band played its ambient psych-noise with a "We don't care if you listen to us" air (heads down, backs turned), it still managed to rock every watching eye into a head-bobbing trance.
The standout set of the evening, however, was delivered by the Pink Snowflakes. The Portland-based foursome started its performance with frontman Andrew Rossi—who looks uncannily like Will Ferrell—earnestly proclaiming: "This is supposed to be a psychedelic show!" Visually aided by a plastic bundle of wood fakely glowing in the background, a machine pouring streams of bubbles and several songs featuring "La, la, la" choruses, the Snowflakes made good on Rossi's promise—and not just from a trippy eye-candy standpoint.
Often accused of early-Flaming Lips worship, the Snowflakes gave the grooving crowd of happy hipsters an entertaining set of fun, psychedelic rock fueled by distorted, melodic guitar solos and Rossi's yearning, eager voice. Clad in a sparkled net shirt and donning a pink polka-dotted guitar strap, Rossi and his band evoked the days of free love and cheap acid with every meandering psych-pop soundscape. The highlight of the set came near the end, when the band mellowed out for a moment and transitioned into a slow, almost love-ballad titled "After School Choir Practice," on which Rossi's melancholy voice and a chorus of guitars harkened back to the carefree days of youth.
But the evening certainly wasn't all bright chord progressions, wandering drones and songs about choir boys. Closing the show, psych-punk trio Nudity showed us how they do it in Olympia, rousing the crowd into the wee hours with a deafening, rowdy set. Rounds were ordered, rock ensued and sensory perceptions were indeed enhanced—just like a psychedelic show is "supposed" to be. .