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Monday, September 09, 2013

Show Review: Tobacco & Zackey Force Funk @ Casbah San Diego

Tobacco from Black Moth Super Rainbow is a handsome lad.

Show Review
Zackey Force Funk
@ Casbah San Diego

  You can't talk about Tobacco, the front man/main man for Philly psych outfit Black Moth Super Rainbow, without first discussing Black Moth Super Rainbow.  Black Moth Super Rainbow is almost unique among contemporary indie bands in eschewing standard-issue interaction with the media.  Despite this choice, they have obtained a moderately large Audience in a traditional DIY fashion.  They currently have 52,000 Facebook fans (1) and close to Nine million Last Fm plays. (2)  But, they are also a band that has been around for a full decade and averages a substantial but unspectacular 2500-3000 listeners a week. (3)  Their most recent effort, Cobra Juicy released in October of 2012, received solid marks from Pitchfork (4) but has only gained 28,000 listeners since release- compare that to 164,000 listeners for 2004's Dandelion Gum LP. (5)
Tobacco had The Seven Fields of Aphelion with him I believe

 Tobacco, meanwhile, gets a later start dates, 2007, and has a lower but still very respectable 3 million listens on Last FM. (6)  What Tobacco doesn't have is a record out, the last release was the LA UTI EP in November of 2010. (7)  He does have 30,000 Facebook fans, which is in line with what you would expect from the main guy of a band with 52,000 fans, i.e. something more then half of them. (8)

Like Animal Collective, another band/collective that I respect but don't necessarily listen to, Black Moth Super Rainbow has created an artistic identity that has successfully generated a sustaining audience, many of whom bought tickets in advance for last nights 13 USD ticket.  You can tell interesting things about the Audience of a specific artist based on the relationship of pre-sale tickets to walk-up.  Pre Sale tickets are typically bought by people who don't go out frequently, and those who have a strong relationship with the headlining Artist and less often by walk-up buyers who are afraid of being shut out of a hot show.  Walk up tickets typically are purchased by frequent scene habitues, people who have heard about a show via word of mouth, and people with little or no connection to the headlining artists (people out for a good time on a weekend, friends of the opening band.)

 Last night it was pre-sale heavy, and walk up thin. That's something I would expect for a band with a solid fan base but no album out.  The audience was somewhere between backpack hip hop and backpack edm, lots of white guys with glasses looking like they stepped out a 90s Beastie Boys video, and a fair number of girls who looked more like EDM fans who frequent indietronica spots like El Dorado.  They were super into opener Zackey Force Funk, who seemed to be aiming for a Chromeo type vibe.  The internet says that Zackey Force Funk and Tobacco are collaborating on an LP for a project called Demon Queen and yikes.

  Tobacco took the stage with, if I'm not mistaken, fellow Black Moth Super Rainbowian The Seven Fields of Aphelion, who is a woman.  She was playing synths and Tobacco was doing lap top/analog stuff and singing into a mic.  They were both behind a budget EDM style front piece that said "TOBACCO."  The biggest surprise to me is that Tobacco is a buff bro looking dude. I guess that is easy enough to find out using Google Image Search but I def. had an image of BMSR being a bunch of scrawny indie looking cats.

  The crowd was def. stoked to be there but it was hard core fans only- no floating scene types in site. I didn't know a soul, except for the people working, who I also don't know but at least recognize.  Tobacco has fat beats to be sure, but the visual element is, I think, always going to be limited since he has to sit there and manipulate analog synth type stuff while he sings. He can hardly be capering around on stage, which I guess explains the collaborative LP with opener Zackey Force Funk, because he does little besides capering around on stage.

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