Acid Mothers Temple La Salla Rossa, Montreal QC — October 14 and 15, 2002

The Canadian debut for Japanese psychedelic freak-out unit Acid Mothers Temple was arranged partially as a CD release for their brand new Electric Heavyland album on Montreal's Alien 8 label and served as a wonderful introduction to Canada. Monday night was billed as Makoto Kawabata and friends, consisting of two separate performances. The first was Kawabata solo, playing a 40-minute set of guitar droning bliss. Switching between bowed guitar and power strumming, the continuous wash of reverberated guitar had the effect of overpowering ambience, powerfully loud yet sublime. After a short intermission, four Montreal musicians (including two members of Godspeed You Black Emperor! playing guitar) joined Kawabata onstage. The quintet played nearly an hour of fragmented improv that went from all-out guitar cacophony to power electronics to vinyl records being smashed into the DJ's turntable. Tuesday night was a more traditional set by the full Acid Mothers Temple band. After a wonderful opening set by Montreal's Hrsta, who on this night featured Sam Shalabi on guitar, the current five-piece AMT line-up hit the stage. Sound problems plagued the band's twin guitarists almost instantly, with Kawabata soon apologising to the crowd in his broken English for their "broken fuzz." Bassist Tsuyama Atsushi then proved to the packed club why he is always referred to as "master joker," as he started some very bad a cappella renditions of Guess Who songs. When their problems were solved, the band quickly kicked it into high gear, wowing the audience with a 90-plus minute set that brought together one part Japanese culture, one part Hawkwind-style noise and a whole lot of righteous guitar soloing. It was loud, it was transcendental, and it was definitely outta sight.