Bleeding Rainbow brings psychedelic punk to Baton Rouge

Bleeding Rainbow
Bleeding Rainbow

Bleeding Rainbow has a habit of rocking first and asking questions later. When the band formed they called themselves Reading Rainbow, potential retaliation from the PBS show of the same name was not even considered. The band’s continually evolving style (and lineup) explores garage rock, punk, psychedelia and pop. The approach seems to be working, as the Philadelphia-based band has gotten rave reviews from Stereogum, SXSW attendees and Dave Groehl, among others.

Baton Rouge will get a chance to experience the singularity of Bleeding Rainbow April 17, when the band plays at the Spanish Moon.

The Baton Rouge show is part of a cross-country tour spanning New York City, Chicago, New Orleans and Seattle. It’s the band’s biggest tour yet and, like previous tours, has forced the band to evolve and grow in new directions. Bleeding Rainbow’s original incarnation was simply a duo consisting of Sarah Everton on bass and Rob Garcia on guitar, but as they outgrew the small pond of the Philadelphia music scene, they realized they needed to bolster their ranks.

“After our second album, ‘Prism Eyes,’ we did this tour with The Dodos where we were playing these huge-capacity venues, and we had never, ever done anything like that before,” said Sarah Everton, who also provides vocals for the band. “On our albums we had more guitar tracks and stuff, so we couldn’t even play all the parts of the songs exactly as they were onstage. We were just two people playing simple punk songs on these huge stages. That was when we decided to expand. So we texted our friend Al and said, ‘Learn all of our songs on guitar.’

Everton said that the band’s original name, Reading Rainbow, was all fun and games in the early days when they weren’t sure how far the band could go. When they began picking up steam, they decided not to risk any legal problems and changed the band’s name.

Everton said many people have speculated that the band received a cease and desist order for use of the name Reading Rainbow, but in reality that did not happen.

“They renewed the trademark on the name because they’re doing stuff online with ‘Reading Rainbow.’ So they renewed it in like 2010, so we could have gotten one, hypothetically, and it would have sucked,” she with a laugh.

Everton thinks the new name is a great fit for their band, though she finds it amusing how others interpret it.

“It’s funny because a lot of people think of it literally and really violently. Like, the flyer for our show tomorrow somebody drew a unicorn cut in half and it’s bleeding a rainbow. But I think of it as just colors bleeding together. And it’s also cool because it’s kind of an homage to ‘My Bloody Valentine’ as well, who are a big influence,” she said.

Other artists that get a lot of play in the Bleeding Rainbow playlist are Nirvana, Stereolab, the B-52s, Devo and Sonic Youth. Everton says that the band’s many influences make their sound hard to label.

“I think what we all agree on is psychedelic punk. And we don’t usually like pop punk, so we consider ourselves punk pop,” Everton said. We’re psychedelic punk pop with some post-punk influences. But it’s funny. The more specific the genre labels get, the more we’re like, ‘Well …’ For a while we were like, ‘We are not garage!’ But people would say we were, so we’d say, ‘Well, we can see why you’d say that. But we’re not.’”

One thing audiences agree on is that Bleeding Rainbow puts on a great live show. Everton listed her must-have qualities in a live band and talked about how long hours on the road can sometimes make for a better show.

“Sincerity and intensity. When we’re stuck in a van all the time and we’re bored all day and not moving around, there have been times where we really freaked out at shows and broke guitars and stuff. But it was always in this stupid, fun way that felt really genuine,” she said.

Everton said that the transportive power of psychedelic music is something they admire and strive to imbue within their own music.

“It has a really heavy atmosphere. Like with Stereolab, it feels like you’re going through a tunnel or outer space or something, and I’ve always loved music that does that,” she said. “You get so sucked into it. You almost can’t imagine it being created by people. It’s like it’s always existed.”

Bleeding Rainbow and The Cave Singers will perform at The Spanish Moon in Baton Rouge on April 17 at 7 p.m. More information about the band can be found at http://bleeding-rainbow.tumblr.com/