bosnian rainbows

Bosnian Rainbows

Sticky Mike's Frog Bar, Brighton – 13th August 2013

Sticky Mike's Frog Bar was the somewhat unusual venue for the penultimate date in Bosnian Rainbows' brief flit around the UK promoting their rather fine, self-titled debut album. An old style underground bunker, this was the first time we had witnessed the venue packed to the rafters and it reinforced our view that this low-ceilinged, low-staged venue offers a pretty decent sound which only in part makes up for the fact that half the people attending must have had little or no view of the stage ... and that some air conditioning might be really good idea if they are going to continue the recent trend of hosting bigger-name bands.

Not since the tiny Engine Room was graced by Editors way back in the day had we experienced such a sticky, airless atmosphere which makes it all the more surprising that as Bosnian Rainbows climb on to the stage, singer Teresa Suarez decides to go for the full overcoat ensemble and remains so unfathomably overdressed until the third song. Prowling across her territory at the front of the stage, the singer is hemmed in by three banks of keyboards, Nicci Casper the main man here in creating all the colours of the rainbow, while drummer Deantoni Parks unbelievably drums with one hand while playing keyboards with the other and Omar Rodríguez-López occasionally lashes out at a few keys on the third when he decides to abandon his guitar for a fleeting moment.

That's not very often. As the band commence with cracking album opener 'Eli', Rodríguez-López shows what a stunning guitarist he is, sending out storms of sonic showers that wash over the audience, his instrument flying in all directions. He barely looks at it all night, yet there's not a note out of place as the Rainbows run through their intricately patterned songs, so pleasingly more accessible and easier to absorb than The Mars Volta's over-lengthy prog-outs. There's funk here, pop even, all mixed with some grating post punk experimentation and crashing guitars. It would be difficult to take your eyes off the guitarist if it wasn't for Suarez. Finally disposing of the coat to reveal a short, black dress the singer is amazing to watch. Half the time she flutters around like a Banshees' rag doll before crouching low like a vixen protecting her young. There's a curious mixture of sweetness and danger about her, sensuality and psychosis. She only takes the back stage when Omar sets off on one; the two of them together are a joy to behold.

Set over, no encore and lights up. Suarez seems genuinely delighted with both the band's work and the audience reaction. And so she should; they've gone down well and most attending are there because the band has struck a chord in their lives – there does not appear to be many of the randomly curious in attendance. With Bosnian Rainbows already in Europe before heading off to Canada and the States, who knows how long it will be before there is a chance to see them play again in the UK. But when they do, try not to miss them. With one great album behind them already, this lot could turn out to be very special indeed.

Words Adam, Photographs Gary
bosnian rainbows

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album reviews june and july 2013