Thursday, February 28, 2008
Liars at the El Rey Theatre
Ever since I interviewed Angus from Liars, I was really looking forward to their show at the El Rey. I was expecting a toned down show compared to their opening slot opening for Interpol at the Forum given the extent of Angus's back injury. I am happy to report I was wrong in my suspicions as the Liars took no prisoners with Angus Andrew (Bass/Vocals) showing few signs of back anguish. Angus was neurotically collapsing and pacing the stage like a maniacal Joker in his magenta suit. It was chaotic, vitriolic, punk and noisy. It was my kind of concert.
IMA GYMNIST is the direct distillation of teenage alienation, frustrated youth and disenchantment. The raw punk bass thrown against Red Bull fueled drumming connected with the audience. IMA GYMNIST breaks the "supposed" hardcore rules in that the band has a female lead singer and nary a guitar player in sight. It was a bludgeoning blast of screams, casio keyboard bleeps, dangerous drums and blistering bass. I felt like I was watching the band rehearse instead of play a live show as it was so raw. The band did meekly ask if their parents had made it to the show. The crowd member next to me jokingly said that their parents probably drove IMA GYMNIST to the show because they looked so young. IMA GYMIST has a seven inch release available on Olfactory records entitled "So Freakin Juicy".
When I saw No Age at the Fonda opening for Battles, I mentioned that they had the art damaged vibe of Liars. It was ironic to see them open for Liars but after seeing their performance but I don't think they will be opening up for other bands much longer. One of my spies in the crowd mentioned that they overheard some kids expressing their disappointment that No Age was playing such a large venue as the El Rey and not the Smell. No Age is on the fast track for the Wiltern, so the kids better get used to disappointment. The crowd ate up No Age's set as the pit would eventually break out in front of the stage as they started into "Everybody's Down". Randy Randall handed his Gibson SG out to the crowd as they ripped off the strings from his guitar for a furious ending as the crowd transformed into piranhas dining on the feedback. No Age will be coming out with a new album entitled "Nouns" on Sub Pop records due on May 6.
Liars had a lot to live up to after No Age's set but one could tell early on that Angus Andrew (Vocals/Bass) was feeling the Los Angeles crowd and wanted to give them something special for a tour ending show. "Leather Prowler" was a fitting opening song as it places you in the middle of a jungle with its tribal drums and guitars that stalk you like a tiger hunting its prey. The unabashed death march of evil was unfurled as "Clear Island" pounded your eardrums and rattled your skull. The screams from the crowd for Angus not to hurt himself went on deaf ears as Angus convulsed and gestured wildly across the stage. I was impressed how close Liars was able to replicate the sounds from album as the driving guitars sounded just as fractured as the recording. It was difficult not to take your eyes from Angus as his stage presence is beyond commanding. "Houseclouds" had its snake like slithering drum shuffle with Julian Gross (Drums) keeping himself busy. "Drum and The Uncomfortable Can" was another lesson in drumming with its industrial tinged beats."Freak Out" was perfect with its menacing dark surf vibe and hollow guitars roaring in the background. Angus was still out of control falling all over the stage and knocking over his mic stand and his stool. I was worrying that Angus would throw out his back again they way he was working the stage. "Pure Unevil" was a highlight of the set for me with its marching drums and haunting vocals as Jarrett Silberman (Guitars) was scraping his Gibson SG for bizarre guitar tones. "Plaster Casts Of Everything" turned the El Rey into a mosh pit as the crowd feverishly thrashed about. It was at this moment that the volume and intensity was at its apex. In an excellent display of setlist dynamics, the Liars followed up the primal intensity of "Plaster Casts Of Everything" with the dark lullaby of "The Other Side Of Mt. Heart Attack". This show was light years more intense and confrontational in comparison to their Forum show. I would recommend you don't miss the Liars live show when they come by to destroy your home town.