By Steph Rodriguez
The Sacramento Bicycle Kitchen began its 2017 Second Saturday concert series with a combination of post-punk, shoegaze and psychedelic rock on Saturday, April 8.
San Kazakgaskar welcomed a tight-knit crowd who hovered in between the beer tent and an art vendor slinging functional pieces made from old bicycle rims, spokes and chains. The gray and cloudy weather acted as the perfect backdrop to the band’s psychedelic performance with lush Middle Eastern-inspired scales, steady percussion, and shamanic vocals. San Kazakgaskar transfixed the audience with its exotic sound and set a serene tone for the evening ahead.
But it was Electric Baby Jesus’ dynamic closing performance that cloaked the audience in clouds of thick fog bellowing from a machine. The band opened its set with a jam session full of mystique and haunting effects that complemented the five-piece group’s ominous neo-gothic sound reminiscent of Bauhaus and Joy Division.
Vocalist-keyboardist Mike McCarrick’s low-toned croons crept alongside lush guitar melodies and heavy, bass-driven beats that cast a hypnotic spell on the audience, who nodded their heads in unison to the music. Blue, green and red lights engulfed the repair shop and reflected off the dozens of bicycle rims and tubes that hung from its ceiling. The dark ambience that Electric Baby Jesus created during its set was mesmerizing. Bassist Doug Vincent’s creepy, commedia dell’arte-style mask only amplified the mood.
A quick chat with guitarist Tom Cox before the band’s set revealed that this was only Electric Baby Jesus’ third live performance. But the way each musician worked to create feelings of suspense and drama using their instruments gave the impression that the group is full of well-seasoned of musicians. The song “Killing Spree” sent the audience into full shoegaze mode, shuffling side to side to the track that is equal parts dark and gloomy with an upbeat appeal.
Only time will only tell when Electric Baby Jesus’ fourth live performance will be, but one thing’s for certain: I’ve joined their cult following.