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SHOW REVIEW: Bosnian Rainbows @ St. Andrews Hall 2/24

I'm honestly not sure how a hundred or so people came together on a cold Sunday night in February to check out Marriages and Bosnian Rainbows. Together less than a year, BR (formerly The Omar Rodriguez Lopex Group) has played a few dozen European dates, released two online-only singles (Torn Maps, Turtleneck) just this year and has a modest web presence. But it happened. Maybe it's the always-reliable genius of guitarist Omar Rodriguez Lopez (The Mars Volta, At The Drive-In) or the allure of Teri Gender Bender, the captivating frontwoman of Le Butcherettes together in one tight package? The resume of this pseudo-supergroup (including drumemr Deantoni Parks and Nicci Kasper) is impressive and deserves more attention than simmering buzz it has received so far.

But, with a full-length album promised in May and based on the dynamic, spot-on live show at St. Andrews on Sunday night, Bosnian Rainbows will no doubt start trending as one of the "It" groups of a young 2013.

Opening the show with the slow burn of "Eli," the mood was pensive. The crowd not knowing what to expect, the band not sure what the crowd reaction would be. But as the band opened up and moved into "Worthless" and the funky riffs of "Kiss My Brown Eye," the crowd loosened up as well.
Singer and frontwoman Teri Gender Bender is a captivating and intimidating presence at the edge of the stage. She moves with an unearthly, robotic rhythm that channels Ian Curtis, Iggy Pop and Siouxsie Sioux all at once. Her powerful voice floats effortlessly over the somtimes complicated beats and time signatured. It was difficultto focus on Omar's guitar work as she commanded the eyes of the audience with her dancing. At one point pouring a bottle of water all over herself, she added a cinematic drama to the already smoking live performance.

Guitar genius Omar Rodriguez Lopez seemed locked in with his Mars Volta rhythm section of Parks and Kasper and seemed comfortable to take risks with his unconventional leads and solos. The music of Bosnian Rainbows is more accessible and radio friendly than the more complex Volta material, but it has a similar feel of unpredictability mixed with headsmacking grooves.

Highlights of the night were the danceable "Fun" and current single "Torn Maps" along with the epic of "Better Off" closing the show. Having only a collection of Youtube bootlegs to compare with, this was a stunningly tight and complete performance. The loops and manipulated vocals were seamlessly mixed with the live instruments and the vocals were both alarmingly honest and haunting.  Perhaps the most humbling and honest moment of the show came just before the end as Omar thanked the audience for coming, simply and audibly speaking to the crowd without a microphone, as if to signify a gratititude from artist to audience without the pose of rockstar granduer.

check out more from Bosnian Rainbows here:
 Look for their yet untitled album debut in May.