Last February I was introduced to experimental pop trio Arc Iris when they opened up for New Zealand singer Kimbra at Union Transfer. I was incredibly interested in not only their sound but the visual elements they brought to the stage: backlit wings worn by singer Jocie Adams, pig-masked mascots dancing on stage during their final number.
Now on tour for their new album Icon of Ego, Arc Iris co-headlined a show last weekend with instrumental local band Square Peg Round Hole at MilkBoy. When talking to some fans in the crowd, there was mentioning about seeing Arc Iris perform in a such an intimate venue. By the end of the night everyone knew that a smaller stage did not hinder their grand performance in the slightest.
Opening the show was the Philadelphia based trio Great Time. Their name tells the story of the night. They played music from their debut LP, called (you guessed it) Great Album. The audience danced, sang along, and I even heard a “Let’s go Birds!” yelled from the back of the venue. You can catch their next Philly performance January 25th at Creep Records.
Arc Iris started their show with Adams’ shadow being seen through a large pink fabric box. When she fully emerged, we could see she was wearing a sparkling headpiece and pink jumpsuit. Meanwhile, keys player Zach Tenorio Miller and drummer Ray Belli wore matching pink satin shirts. This is a group that embraces theatricality; Arc Iris had choreographed dance moves, purposeful light changes, and Adams had two outfit changes — impressive considering the tiny space of MilkBoy’s stage! It is hard to identify the groups genre but, their new label described it as “pop-prog” so I’m going with that. The set focused on Arc Iris’ new album Icon of Ego, and it is deserving of your attention.
After a hefty change to the stage setup, Square Peg Round Hole lit up their new stage lights and started to play. The percussion-driven instrumental trio pulls elements from post-rock, electronic, ambient, and contemporary classical genres. They use an array of instruments including bells, drums, glockenspiels, vibraphones, synthesizers, and probably other things that I missed. They thanked the crowd for staying out late on a cold Thursday night to see them, and I am glad I did.
Check out a set of photos from the show in the gallery below.