Berbati’s Church of Psychedelia is a free event organized by Point Line Plane’s Josh Blanchard. It has been going strong every last Sunday of the month since its inception last January. One would think that with its name, the groups at this event would have nothing but a retro’60s sound. Though the DJs’ preferences are from that era, most of the groups featured are of the experimental/noise class who attempt to sound trippy, atmospheric and “fun to get stoned to” as anything Hawkwind or Pink Floyd would have had to offer.
The atmosphere was relaxed, or seemed so due to the overabundance of Berbati’s comfy bar chairs. The lighting had a kind of cosmic Technicolor with lots of purples, reds and blues. There was also a disco ball, which gave the effect of being pulled backward by a tide of purple blood cells when one walked in its range, but they need a strobe light to really give it a genuine UFO club feel. It went well with DJ Mordechai’s set, which as stated before was all freak-out stuff.
Because most folks have to work in the morning, this month’s Church “service” was not well attended, which kind of made it seem more intimate. With the exception of an acquaintance of mine known only to me as “Groover,” most of those in there were not the “freaks” or “heads” of yore but mainly people from the noise scene. There was also some drunk girl who ruined Light White’s set with her Nancy Spungen-like screeching as she begged a trio of noise-fellows to dance with her. I later heard the girl complaining about the venue and singing the praises of bars in the suburbs that are cheaper and play country music and AC/DC.
Light White is a two-man duo, a drummer and a vintage keyboardist. They seem to me as being two ex-raver types who later in life got hip to Krautrock and the Silver Apples. The sound they had was almost like something that could have been put together on a computer but with a completely warm, organic, analog tone to it. Unlike most ambient/noise groups I’ve observed, their compositions seem rather set in stone as actual songs rather than improvised. It was quite danceable but not loud enough to drown out the drunk girl mentioned before.
The next group, Puff Puff Give Give, began their set making some reference to the joys of THC. That, and I guess their name, make them a “stoner noise” band. There were two guitarists, a vocalist with a voice distortion device and an iPod set with various beats to keep time. I didn’t find them as interesting as Light White, so I kind of zoned out during their set. It may have been my bias against using something prerecorded but the iPod beats seemed to drown out the guitars, and the Frampton-like voice distortion was interesting at first but kind of got annoying after awhile.
This was my second outing to the Church, and I find that all in all even if the groups aren’t always 100 percent excitement, they’re never boring to the ear. And if you are a traditional psyche fan and you like to dance, the DJs definitely play decent stuff. And the price can’t be beat; it’s free!