Also Rising


Psychedelia? While the last hippie was killed off in a hail of Altamont-Manson Corp. cue sticks over thirty years ago, lingering visual images of flower-powerish garb and dippy little twirly dances continue to dog the genre. But don’t expect incense ’n’ peppermints pop at a SubArachnoid Space gig. As evidenced on its eighth platter, this San Francisco instrumental combo’s genius resides in being able to channel several decades’ worth of psych without ever coming off tried, fried or tie-dyed. Ten-minute opening track "The Harsh Facts Of Life" alone is sufficiently cortex-shearing to resurrect images of Hawkwind in maximum Space Ritual overdrive, Pink Floyd frammin’ on the jim-jam at Pompeii, Guru Guru at its most kolorful krautrockin’ and — just to cite a contemporary example — Bevis Frond excavating the rotten corpse of Hendrix and making the old sonofabitch do his Merman dance. Elsewhere on this album are finely sculpted slabs of tuneage that are alternately meditational ("Deep End," with luscious peals of organ and e-bow guitar and featuring a jaw-dropping orchestral climax) and tender (the delicately plucked, Ash Ra Tempel-like "Angel Food"). For some fans, though, the main draw may be no-nonsense space-truckin’, of which there’s ample choogle here, notably the straight-up biker punk of "Tucson."

SubArachnoid Space operates within a growing international community that includes Japanese loonies Acid Mothers Temple, Philly hempheads Bardo Pond, Seattle drone kings Kinski and Detroit’s own resident space cowboys, Paik (who, along with ambient-rock avatars Windy & Carl, appear on the bill this week with SubSpace). So don’t dismiss the "psych" tag as something quaintly retro; the movement continues to mutate and expand. On a purely aesthetic level, you might want to leave your moth-eaten elephant bells and Nehru jackets at home when you head out to the gig, but hey, if the sounds inspire you to do a dippy little twirly dance, nobody’s gonna stop you. The play’s the thing, after all … —Fred Mills

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Detroit Metro Times works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Detroit and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Detroit's true free press free.