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Rick@SXSW: Bleeding Rainbow Lives To Play Live.

March 28, 2013

BleedingRainbowSXSW02Text and images by Rick Kauffman.

Rainey Street, a few blocks south of the mess of downtown, embraces the side-street charm and features best food trucks in the city. Behind the barricade entrance, rickshaws, or pedi-cabs for you fellow Americans, line up in wait of the next fare adorned in hipster cutoffs and shades or decked out in full-costume — Spiderman, Superman and Wonder Woman among them.

Down the street, in the back of a surf-bar-looking joint, Bleeding Rainbow played in the shade. Shielded from the blistering sun, the band played a more punishing sound than their CD would have you expect. The crowd, wrinkling their toes atop the Astroturf, was present for something heavy and unexpected. 

BLEEDING_RAINBOW_004BLEEDING_RAINBOW_005“I’m exhausted. We had nine shows this week — nine is our max,” said guitarist Rob Garcia after the show. “Last year we played 12 shows and I lost my voice. Sarah coughed up blood. You can’t overdo it.”

Singer and bassist, Sarah Everton, represented Philly by rocking a blue Mickey Mouse t-shirt with “Philadelphia” running down a column. Guitarist Al Creedon thrashed and wailed, shaking his guitar violently to for reverb and distortion-heavy sound. On tape, those sounds are merely the backing tune. Live, their tunes were played with raw intensity.

The distortion-laden performance of their most recent single, “Waking Dream,” turned from a catchy pop tune to an epic of pulsing sonic waves as Creedon forces his low-hanging guitar into the amplified like two magnets colliding at positive ends. The harmonies of Everton and Garcia rang out clear and true over the crashing sound waves.

“Our playing time is the only time we live for,” Garcia said. “Usually we’re just zonked out until it’s on.”

This show however, was Bleeding Rainbow’s second of four shows that day, or actually third of five if you want to count their midnight show the night before. The seventh show in three days starts to pile up where the lack of slept left them thin.

“Four shows in one day is a record for us,” Creedon said. “We were really ready for these shows. It was good the first and second days but after our first show today everyone laid down. No one talked.”

Bleeding Rainbow is certainly no stranger to the hectic schedule and spotlight these days. Their newest album, Yeah Right, was given rave reviews by Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly popped in to see them, Dr. Marten’s gave them shoes, they were featured live broadcast on KEXP Seattle, and even MTV swung by.

“It’s weird but cool,” Everton said. “It’s cool as long as you’re not delusional.”

BleedingRainbowSXSW03The year 2013 marked the fourth time Bleeding Rainbow ventured out to Austin, TX for the yearly showcase. The first year featured just Everton and Garcia as a two-piece. The next year, they were a three-piece.

“You have to come here if you want to make a name for yourself,” Garcia said. “This is our fourth time here and it’s been the best year ever. We’re definitely not making money but the crowds are growing and that’s been a long time coming.”

Bleeding Rainbow launch a full-tour of the US on March 31, from Chicago and then east, working back to Philly for a show on April 4th at Johnny Brenda’s, then down to Florida, back to Austin, over to Southern California, up to Seattle and back home in early May.

“We’re not on tour yet,” Creedon said. “We just all hopped in a station wagon and cruised down to Austin.”

“I’m grateful,” Everton said. “It beats being in Philly while everyone is down here.”

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