Gnarls Barkley, Battles Set MySpace's 150th Secret Show Aflame in NYC

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Gnarls Barkley frontman Cee-Lo / Photo by Simon Biswas
WRITTEN BY
Steven Horowitz

A free show certainly attracts a crowd, and last night (June 8) fans were packed in tighter than sardines in a tin can at New York City's Fillmore venue where the soul-warping Gnarls Barkley, math rockers Battles, and robotic R&B maven Janelle Monae played the 150th installation of MySpace's Secret Show series.

Monae, a Bad Boy/Wondaland Arts Society artist, was the first to grace the stage, moonwalking and high-kicking as she breezed through cuts off Metropolis: Suite I of IV."It's an honor to perform with Gnarls Barkley," Monae bubbled to SPIN.com as she posed for snapshots backstage. "I'm a huge supporter of them, and the fact that I get to share the bill with them is wonderful."

Battles followed with a scorching set driven by industrial loops and warbled instrumentation. During their 45-minute gig, the quartet whisked through tracks off their debut album Mirrored as incongruent rhythms and unexpected syncopation shook the crowd's sweat-soaked bodies to "Tonto" and "Race: Out."

Battles' three electric guitarists played off of each other and drummer John Stanier doled out 5/4 tempos, reaching above his head to hit a clanging crash cymbal as Tyondai Braxton's vocal moans filtered through his laptop. "Atlas" closed their aerobic set, its naked keyboard melodies gradually dissolving into silence.

After Battles turned scraps of noise into mean anthems, the audience, who braved the swampy New York City heat as they waited in line all afternoon for the free show, was finally treated to an adrenaline-fueled performance from headliner Gnarls Barkley. Danger Mouse silently handled organ duties while frontman Cee-Lo stripped down from tuxedo jacket to undershirt, instructing the ladies in the house to follow his lead. "It's a Gnarls Barkley show and anything goes," he said with a smirk. "If it gets too hot, don't be afraid. Let those titties be free."

Females abstained, but were still rewarded with renditions of tracks off the duo's debut St. Elsewhere and its follow-up, The Odd Couple. Backed by two guitarists, two percussionists, and an upright bassist, the band started off with "Charity Case," making their eccentric musical rounds with performances of "Gone Daddy Gone," "Blind Mary," and "Whatever."

Cee-Lo raised his arms towards the heavens at the end of the cinematic "Going On" and grabbed a seat for the sagging "Neighbors," but kept the energy flowing during mega hit "Crazy." The night ended with an encore of "Save My Soul" and the slaphappy "Smiley Faces," leaving the audience with a frenzied conclusion to a night of musical mayhem.

We asked: If you could throw your own MySpace Secret Show, which artists would you choose to perform and which venue would you pick?

Read the fans' answers >>
More photos from this show >>

We Asked: If you could throw your own MySpace Secret Show, which artists would you choose to perform and which venue would you pick?

Back to the story >>
More photos from this show >>


Gnarls Barkley / Photo by Simon Biswas


Gnarls Barkley / Photo by Simon Biswas


Gnarls Barkley / Photo by Simon Biswas


Battles / Photo by Simon Biswas


Battles / Photo by Simon Biswas


Battles / Photo by Simon Biswas


Battles / Photo by Simon Biswas


Janelle Monae / Photo by Simon Biswas

Back to the story >>
Read the fans' answers >>

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