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POP MUSIC REVIEW : Sky Cries Mary: In a Hippie Groove

July 28, 1993|STEVE HOCHMAN

Not since Madonna's torpedo bra and Prince's cheekless pants have costumes been so distracting in a concert as they were at Sky Cries Mary's show Monday at the Troubadour.

Singer Anisa Romero came on stage wearing a sort of postmodern sun-goddess headdress, while fellow singer Roderick (who doesn't use his last name, Wolgamott) wore something that made him look like a cross between an eccentric Elizabethan squire and a rabid rooster. Maybe you had to be there.

But perhaps not since vintage Pink Floyd has a band woven such a dynamic hippie-trance groove as this Seattle septet. In some ways, of course, the music was just as silly as the clothes (which, wisely, were doffed after a couple of songs). The kind of quasi-tribal mysticism the band plies might seem quaint and innocent on old Incredible String Band albums, but it's generally hard to take these days.

Yet for all that, SCM's music really was entrancing, its semi-funky beat more coherent and less mechanical than the standard rave fare. And the subtle use of turntables and samples helped keep a retro patina from setting in, even as projections of Hindu images on a screen behind the stage, though impressively done, seemed a bit too borrowed from the Summer of Love.

But even that made a nice break from the anger that powers so much current music.

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