Sunday, July 01, 2007

Battles at the Troubadour

Synthesizers, Samplers, Echoplexes, Guitars, Drums by John Stanier(Helmet,Tomahawk) and "Math Rock". I left my Hewlett-Packard graphing calculator with RPN at home. So I was not prepared for the musical madness that was Battles.

Ponytail by the way of Baltimore started the evening with their spastic guitar lines and bird calling noises courtesy of Molly Siegel(Vocals). Dustin Wong (Guitars) was tremolo picking so much that his guitar string broke during the finale of their set. They reminded me of Deerhoof with a sprinkle of Yeah Yeah Yeahs. They are currently touring the U.S. again with The Death Set.

Battles fall into the category of bands that you have to see live in order to fully appreciate the magic that they create. Their cd "Mirrored" is extremely good and features some frantic drumming combined with askew guitar lines and sampled synthesizer work. John Stanier is the backbone of this band with his ferocious drumming and deserves his placement front and center of the stage. When I go to shows, I usually catch one band member doing something unusual during the peformance which attracts my attention. I really didn't know who to track for this show as everyone was going crazy on stage. Ian Williams (Guitars, Synthesizers) was two handed tapping and thrashing his guitar around on stage. Tyondai Braxton (Vocals/Guitars) was sampling his voice with a Line 6 Delay Modulation pedal and speeding the sample up to give his voice a high pitched alien like sound. Dave Konopka (Guitars/Bass) was a mad scientist in the background coordinating all of the sampled guitars. I am still in awe how well they flawlessly recreated this record and gave the music a sharp intensity. John Stanier was drenched in sweat after the show due to his rhythmic madman percussion skills. If you play a musical instrument at all, you will either throw your instrument away or be inspired to create your own sonic tapestry. I would go on about how good this show was but I hear my guitar calling.

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