Review: Omar and the Bosnians

Restless musical soul: Omar Rodriguez and his band provided a hypnotic performance in Wellington.
Restless musical soul: Omar Rodriguez and his band provided a hypnotic performance in Wellington.

Omar Rodriguez Lopez Band

San Francisco Bathhouse, November 27

Reviewed by Simon Sweetman

Through his work with The Mars Volta and before that as a member of At The Drive-In, two cult acts, innovative guitarist Omar Rodriguez Lopez has built a legion of fans thirsty to hear the sounds that dribble and dart from his instrument.

He has also released close to two dozen solo albums: soundtracks, collaborations and interesting sonic clippings from a restless musical soul.

His always-changing Omar Rodriguez Lopez Band currently features Mars Volta drummer/keyboardist Deantoni Parks and for this show he revealed a new group, Bosnian Rainbows.

Lopez and Parks were joined by keyboardist Nicci Kasper and vocalist Teri Gender Bender (Teresa Suarez) from the Mexican garage-punk band Le Butcherettes that Lopez had produced.

From an art-metal Dead Can Dance vibe through to 1980s synth-pop and mild goth flirtations, the music of Bosnian Rainbows was constantly thrilling, largely due to the hypnotic performance from the lead singer.

A post-Patti Smith vocal sound erupted as Suarez danced - often in inverted commas - as if something from The Dark Crystal was attempting some of the early, conceptual Kate Bush shapes.

She was an intoxicating presence - always unpredictable, drawing in the audience as if conjuring a strange spell.

All the while Parks and Kasper turned finely tuned esoterica into danceable grooves or stark, dramatic frames for the colourful images Suarez and Lopez created.

And for those there for Omar Rodriguez Lopez, he did not disappoint.

There were shades of At The Drive-In and The Mars Volta, in the way he became so attached to the music it seemed to be shaking him about the stage as he peeled and wrung notes from his guitar.

The songs, an entire set of new material, were far more focused and defined than the loose, jam-structures Lopez so often fronts.

Here was a band welcomed as new heroes. It was amazing to be part of - so all-inclusive and intimate. It felt like many in the audience had just discovered their new favourite band.

The Dominion Post