Adrian Belew, Psychodots

By Michael Campbell

Kentucky's true intergalactic guitar hero touched down at Phoenix Hill on the evening of June 1. Adrian Belew, solo artist as well as hired gun for the Talking Heads, Paul Simon, David Bowie and Frank Zappa, to name a few, painted his inimitable sonic self-portrait, with supple assistance from the Psychodots (a.k.a. the Raisins, the Bears).

The Psychodots, Rob Fedders (guitar), Bob Nyswinger (bass) and Chris Arducer (drums, mandolin), opened, applying their Beatlesque pop sensibilities (i.e., music can be melodic, clever, danceable, unpredictable and even FUN). Fedders is one of those rare guitarists who can instinctively fill the right spaces in a three-piece ensemble whether playing rhythm or lead, as does Tim Krekel, for example. Their portion of the show included their own "Psychodots," complete with balloon guitar technique (you had to see it), and "She's a Moaner."

While backing the headliner, Fedders' inspired playing nearly eclipsed the efforts of Belew, who didn't truly catch fire until late in the set. Adrian initiated the second set with a mini overture of synthesized, then acoustic, guitar treatments before touring his musical history, including "Inner Revolution," the crowd-pleasing Fedders/Belew composition "Superboy," "Lone Rhino," "Heartbeat" from his King Crimson stint, and a rousing rave-up of "The Momur" to end the set. Selections from his latest recording, Here, were well received, notably "Brave New World."

These four musicians performed with the ease and enthusiasm of friends having too much fun. The layering of Adrian's other-worldly sounds over the Psychodots' seamless execution snowballed through two encores. And four lads from Liverpool cast long shadows into the room.