Packed to the rafters, with barely any room to shake, the Lower East Side experimental art rock group, Battles, hypnotized the earnest crowd. The band staggered on to the stage, first with Dave Konopa setting up 5 guitar loops, next founding member Ian Williams setting up even more loops on guitar and keyboard with fiery spasms, and finally clearly every one’s favorite member and the worlds most passionate drummer John Stanier completing the trio.
At times Battles’ set seemed to be completely falling apart until it was made clear it was part of the plan all along, as the band would burst into songs such as “Ice Cream and Futura” reminding the crowd how powerful their instrumental tracks are. Battles’ work ethic on stage is unmatched, with every member busier than the last and completely focused on staying in perfect time with the latest loop. At one point drummer John Stanier stood up to give a wave to the crowd and subsequently show off his appearance of having jumped into a pool fully clothed.
The trio closed their set with “Atlas,” the song that broke them into the public eye, which seemed impossible considering they had lost singer Tyondai Braxton in 2010. They impressively managed without him by live programming a pre-recorded vocal track in line with the live loops. The crowd of course needed more and forced the band to reemerge to play the single “The Yaba” off their new album La Di Da Di that you can find here.
written by Emmanuel Castro @melvoymusica
photos by Victoria Smith @bigvicsmith