Monday, September 12, 2016

Shining A Light On... Arc Iris

Opening bands can be welcome surprises or simply annoying... it can be worth heading to a show a little early to catch the opener - you may discover something new worth listening to and checking out further. Love it when that happens! Mentioned in my write-up on Caveman that I'd seen them opening for Phosphorescent in Burlington. Saw Arc Iris open for FREEMAN - Aaron Freeman of Ween's new band at the time - back in September of 2014 at Higher Ground in South Burlington. To say I was intrigued is putting it mildly!

The band made an instant impression as they appeared onstage with a sense of theatricality and an awareness of creating a presence. Band leader Jocie Adams often appears in a shiny silver or gold body suit, and the band occasionally displays exotic face make-up including gems and other glittering enhancements. Adams uses several props including a ladder - useful when she deploys giant silver wings during their performances. Their music veers from old-timey show tune sensibilities to expansive experimental electronic rock - no sound is out of bounds if it contributes to the effect of the song and the performance.

Adams' sense of theatricality and performance permeates the Arc Iris live show, recalling both the art-rock and glitter era of David Bowie and the prog rock, costumed era of the Peter Gabriel-led Genesis. Adams and company are fearless in service of their art - they go for it, even as an opener, or during their later residency the next spring at Burlington's Skinny Pancake when they seemed to be chasing out the dinner crowd Friday nights. Check out this UK performance from that early period:

Adams is joined in Arc Iris by keyboard maestro Zachary Tenorio-Miller and percussionist Ray Belli; cellist Robin Ryczek also played the live shows I caught that first year (total digression - Ray has a cool podcast - check out his Words for Granted on the development of individual words in our wacky English language). Over their residency and as the band built a following in Vermont and began appearing more often in town, one could hear new songs being developed and worked out.

Without knowing actual titles, the songs became known in my mind by a significant phrase in the tune - such as "...Give the Worried Man A Rose". Turned out that song was actually called "Kaleidoscope" - and it was the first track released from Arc Iris' brand-new album Moon Saloon:

Moon Saloon is out now - check out the AMAZING VIDEO for the title tack as well:

If you're intrigued, do a YouTube search for more. Check out the rest of Moon Saloon. And? The band puts so much into their performance - it's worth seeking them out to see them perform live. There are Eastern US dates, European shows in October and November, and Western US dates after those - more info over on the Arc Iris site.

UPDATE: Arc Iris just played live for NPR - Check out the performance!