Bonnaroo Reviewed: Battles

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Battles / Photo by Lucy Hamblin
WRITTEN BY
Emily Zemler

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:

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