KEXP at SXSW 2013, Day One: Bleeding Rainbow

photos by Dave Lichterman

Bands go through changes – name changes, member changes, sound transformations, covers. One of those bands that has recently changed names, members, and sound, but has survived, is Philadelphia’s Bleeding Rainbow. Starting as a duo of sludge-infused indie pop back in 2009, the band then known as Reading Rainbow first released albums that rippled through pop and rock, alternating between the two in a pleasant, almost under-produced kind of way. After adding another guitarist and moving Sarah Everton from drums to bass, the band’s sound transformed from their previous low-fi indie pop to psychedelic, occasionally even sunny, power pop. Their recently released Yeah Right on Kanine Records is lacking the grunge of their early days, but to no loss for fans. The additions to the band have given them a larger, cleaner canvass on which to paint their musical portraits.

While the album reflects a cleaner feel, their performance at Mellow Johnny’s Bike Shop today was anything but clean. Sarah’s vocals were deeply embedded in the wall of sound emanating from the dueling guitars. They started heavy and ended heavy, the riffs echoing off each other inside the cycle shop walls. Barreling through “Waking Dream” and “Drift Away”, Sarah’s pop vocals were crisp even when hidden behind the noise and contrasted by Rob Garcia’s slightly nasally and edgier vocals. Heads were bobbing throughout the crowd, as the band swiftly won over converts and fans alike. If Bleeding Rainbow were once known for their indie pop, their live show at Mellow Johnny’s was a full-fledged noise rock extravaganza. This band from Philadelphia shreds and they know it.

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