[PHOTO: Matt Dressen for Clicky Clicky] Philadelphia noise-pop crew Bleeding Rainbow blasted through a bristling, low-fanfare set at Portland's Wonder Ballroom Friday, visiting town in support of its third record Yeah Right, which was released earlier this year on Kanine Records. Bleeding Rainbow has successfully moved beyond the more traditional pop approach of its past and in the direction of a more calculated guitar band, one evocative of a very specific point in alternative rock history. The strength of the band's more recent approach was on full display Friday.
Opening for the Cave Singers -- a band composed of former members of defunct poppy post-hardcore act Pretty Girls Make Graves -- the group wore their hardened, tour-heavy tightness and passion on their collective sleeve. While Bleeding Rainbow's previous iteration as Reading Rainbow was perhaps a more singular vehicle for bassist Sarah Everton and guitar player Rob Garcia -- due to neat, '80s noise-pop songwriting within a minimal, duo format -- the new four-piece incarnation very enjoyably conjured Friday a jammy, early '90s buzz-rock vibe that was a welcome surprise for those familiar with their previous work. One need not look further than Goo or Dirty-period Sonic Youth to understand Bleeding Rainbow's recent inspiration; indeed, Ms. Everton's neon SY t-shirt left little doubt of this. Just about every song of the Philadelphia foursome's set aimed for the fizzing intensity of the mid-section instrumental segments of classics like "Kool Thing" and "Sugar Kane." Some bands like to evoke the 1960s Brill Building. Others want to sound like NME’s C86 cassette. Bleeding Rainbow seem bent on approximating the treasured "1991: The Year Punk Broke" VHS.
Saddled with an early set time, the quartet confronted a thin crowd that was made all the smaller by the large floor of Wonder Ballroom. Even so, the Rainbow won over the initially unreceptive audience through sheer energy. One could not help but wonder if they could have had an easier time with the audience working within the more cozy confines of one of the smaller, more indie-centric venues around town. These concerns were soon forgotten, though, as the Ballroom's well-crafted sound engineering filled the room with guitars. Bleeding Rainbow's set consisted almost entirely of Yeah Right's thick, pounding chords and loud, simple drum beats from Dominique Montgomery. In particular, opener "Pink Ruff" and "You're Not Alone" crashed through the venue with the power of a tidal wave. Everton and Mr. Garcia pushed the songs vocally with close harmonies that cut across guitarist Al Creedon's single note squeals and bloops. The band closed with a new song, "Monochrome," a stunner with pummeling open chord freak outs that had Everton excitedly rolling around on the floor. Where many bands draw inspiration from indie rock's elder statesperson, Bleeding Rainbow showed Friday they don't aspire to simply remind listeners of the alterna-heyday, they want to live it. The quartet wraps its current tour Friday, then heads back out on the road in June with the hotly tipped Boston indie rock concern Fat Creeps; full dates for that are posted right here. Stream all of Yeah Right via the Bandcamp embed below. -- Edward Charlton.
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