Amusement Parks on Fire
w/Crutches, Moon Rats
Sun June 5, Neumo's, 9:30 pm, $7, 21+.

Around the same time that Ecstasy pumped ravers full of illusions of forming deep bonds over deep-tissue massages, indie kids were also clouding their heads with the synthetic bliss. For shoegazer fans, what better illicit substance to amplify the rapturous, narcotic energy of bands like Spiritualized, My Bloody Valentine, and the Boo Radleys than one that makes you feel like you're floating in a cloud of mass euphoria. Those early-'90s bands laid the effects on thick-so much so that some of their live performances seemed to forgo a set list in favor of an extended jam of guitar wankery (meant in the best possible way). Ecstasy was definitely a fitting vehicle for trips to such galactic planes.

And for all the post-shoegazer bitching about stoic, laces-focused bands with nothing to give their audiences but cool attitude, a decade later we're drenched in the next wave of the genre. Feedback is king, and the ghosts of Britain's past hang close to the new generation. Take the UK's Amusement Parks on Fire, a new band emulating Ride's ascent into undiluted distortion and psychedelic drone. They only part the fog to clear a way for moving string and piano arrangements-which sound like Dirty Three outtakes-before launching back into a stratosphere of heavy-lidded rock. Their songs play equally with turbulence and restraint, erecting walls of noise only to zoom into more contained emotions minutes later.

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Fronted by Nottingham's Michael Feerick (doing his best Mark Gardener version of allowing the lyrics to hang in the atmosphere), the band consists of Daniel Knowles, Jez Cox, and Pete Dale, a combination that repeats history and then continues building on the past. Whether they cause Ecstasy-riddled flashbacks depends on individual chemistry, but even to the sober ear they'll effectively send you to rock's outer constellations. ■

jennifer@thestranger.com

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