Friday, September 28, 2007

Wednesday Night Math Rock Geek Out

Live at The Gaelic Club, 26th September

The Gaelic Club was about ten times more packed than the last time I was there, which was back in February to see Suffocation, a very, very different band to Battles. The audience in attendance this time around was also ten times less intense and in fact it was probably one of the geekiest crowds I've ever been in.

My Disco

The openers were My Disco, who I saw last year opening for Mogwai and who really impressed me back then. They're a good match for Battles; their mathy but danceable rhythms are quite similar, although My Disco have more of a straight up rock tone compared to Battles' artificial synthiness. They were just as good this time around, almost as much fun as the headliners.

Battles: Featuring shirtless John Stanier

As artificial as their sound is, Battles turned out to be a great live band. With a combination of guitars, keys, crazy noise boxes and of course John Stanier's amazing drumming, they recreate the sound of the album more or less straight up, but with a more loose, aggressive energy, as befits a live concert. The music is highly technically challenging and it was a treat to see them deliver it so skilfully The guitarists liked to show off by fingering their guitars with one hand and playing keys simultaneously with the other. Stanier is a fucking machine, and his kit is given pride of place at centre stage front in order to reflect his importance to the band. Collectively as performers they come across as a bunch of cocky showoffs, but I'm inclined to give them a break. Anyone who does the hard yards in brilliant but underrated bands like Tomahawk or Don Caballero and finally ends up getting recognition for something as imaginative and skilfully impressive as Battles deserves to smugly enjoy all the coke and pussy that's coming their way.

Yes, Stanier's ride cymbal is set absurdly high.

The happy, adrenalising energy of the music was a little wasted on the crowd. Many of the pimply basement dwellers in attendance would probably be too scared to actually move in any way more exaggerated than a rhythmic nod of the head and a polite golf clap between songs for fear of losing indie cred, and even were that not the case, the pokey little Gaelic was packed wall to wall so there was no chance of flailing around like a lunatic, the way the music wanted you to.

Predictably enough, big single 'Atlas' was the highlight of the set.

Here's hoping next time they play in a bigger venue so that we can all flail away.


Skarnz said...

Man, that is pretty ridiculous!

He must have super ape-factor to get that high...

Jon said...

Yeah that dude is built like an orangutan.