Bright Light Social Hour bring psychedelic rock to Beachland Ballroom this Tuesday
Bright Light Social Hour is a band that has fundamentally changed its sound in the past few years, and they’re aware of it. “We used to kick in the doors blaring,” said bassist and singer Jack O’Brien in a phone interview. “Now, you have to work up that energy and ultimately we’ll create a greater energy by doing it seductively.”
On Tuesday, March 22, they will bring their blend of political, psychedelic rock to the Beachland Ballroom, known from their newest album “Space Is Still The Place.” It’s an album about their hopes for the future of the American south; an area they think needs progress.
“[I hope for] people putting aside political differences and moving toward a future that’s more egalitarian,” said O’Brien.
“Space Is Still The Place” arrived in 2015, five years after the band’s first, self-titled party rock album. And the new stuff is a bit more mature not only in its political theme, but also in its sound.
On almost every track, a blues beat persists through wavering synth distortions. Futuristic distortions occur most prominently in “Dreamlove,” with beeping synths, but also in “Moon” with its ambient melodic themes. “Ghost Dance” and “Infinite Cities” see the band return into the funky, upbeat rhythms and party style of their early style–but in terms of the party these songs are visiting, it’s more of a relaxed dinner with friends as opposed to the college rager that their self-titled album was. The entire album is wrapped up with the appropriately-titled “Escape Velocity,” a funky, chill mosh.
Inspiration for “Space Is Still The Place” came from their last tour, during which the band stayed with fans overnight to save money on their way around the country. They saw young people struggling to make a living and race tension in the south, which O’Brien saw as a classist society. “To see the South blur those lines would be a cool thing to see,” he said.
Bright Light Social Hour’s political message works itself into their opinion of the current presidential race, and O’Brien says the band as a whole identifies politically as to the left of Bernie Sanders. “A lot of young people see Sanders as the only voice of progress, and in the likely event that he does not end up the Democratic nominee, a lot of people will feel like they don’t have good options,” he said. “I would urge people who are big into Sanders to not lose hope of progress, and to participate in voting.”
The concert starts at 8 p.m., and tickets are available through the Beachland Ballroom website.