Bonnaroo Reviewed: Battles
New Yorkers overcome technical shortcomings and unfurl their "Atlas."
After overcoming some technical difficulties and a delayed start to their set, New York foursome Battles played a charged, hour-long selection of their signature eclectic, electro-rock to a massive crowd at This Tent. The group expanded and slowed down several tracks from their 2007’s debut Mirrored and a few older songs from their early EPs, spending a large portion of their set exploring instrumental track “Tonto” — which is already over seven minutes recorded.
The highlight, for both the band and the Bonnaroo faithful, was their single, “Atlas” — one of the few Battles songs that is not purely instrumental — during which singer/guitarist/keyboardist Ty Braxton sang high-pitched, unintelligible vocals distorted through his microphone and drummer John Stanier attacked his loftily-placed cymbal.
Despite a few over-drawn lulls in the songs, which often had no distinct beginning and ending, a bright lighting scheme that was inappropriate for the group’s experimental numbers, and a crowd that seemed to mostly be waiting for Vampire Weekend to start, Battles was a clear highlight on Bonnaroo’s opening night, made especially exciting when the band’s true fans chanted along with Braxton’s Chipmunk-like vocals on “Atlas.”
We asked some fans in the crowd about the set: