by Patrick Kelly
October 1, 2009
When your band is called LSD And The Search For God, there are
certain expectations; for example, hallucinogenic live shows that
unfold like that crazy graveyard scene from Easy Rider. As the San
Francisco act took the stage Tuesday night at the Hi-Dive, the
bartender appropriately quipped, "It's about to get weird in here."
But hope for a mind-altering, possibly spiritual experience wasn't
totally fulfilled as the band put out a lot of loud, pretty, and
pretty loud noises that transpired into an overall by-the-book shoegaze sound.
Shoegaze is defined by a certain sonic aesthetica wall of sound, a
loud-quiet-loud kind composition run through an insane number of
effects pedalsand LSD had that down pat. Singer-guitarist Andy
Liszt's breathy voice hauntingly resembled that of Seam's Sooyoung
Park, and the band seemed to have studied from the same manual as
Chicago's Airiel. Waves of distorted and flanged rhythm guitar hit
with sparkly, heavily processed leads, and churning, quarter-note
bass lines played against crashing drums. It was certainly dreamy,
the kind of noise that encourages the mind to wander off.
Despite these layers, there was nothing much to engage the audience
beyond sheer volume. Neat-sounding effects were plentiful (thanks to
the guitarists' dozens of pedals), but otherwise it was all simple
pop tunes. The members of LSD never spoke to the audience, not even
offering a thank you; instead the band kept the loops of ambient
sound flowing between songs with no break in the music. The group
occasionally whispered and nodded to each other, but aside from these
small gestures, there was no indication that they even existed on the
same plane of reality as the crowd.
Which brings us back to this: Would it be possible for the LSD guys
to even be on LSD at every stop on the tour? It seemed like that's
what they were going for from this show, or maybe the band members
were just concentrating really hard on the effects pedals.