Battles Soldier On Out West
LOS ANGELES: Indie-prog upstarts keep the dream alive with meter-busting energy.
After a brief stop at this year’s Vegoose festival, New York City’s indie rock experimentalists Battlesresumed their North American trek with a show at Los Angeles’ majesticMusic Box at the Henry Fonda Theatre on Halloween eve (Oct. 30).Hometown duo No Ageput in a raucous opening set as drummer Dean Spunt and guitarist RandyRandall offered select tunes from their latest LP, theelectronic-layered set Weirdo Rippers.Only adding to their hypnotic punk-tinged disarray, Randall ascendedthe amps during “Everybody’s Down,” plummeting to the stage as Spunt’sdrum beats ignited. Oddly, such vibrant showmanship couldn’t keep a fewsurly concertgoers from heckling the pair.
Later, as Battlestook the stage, the somewhat jaded crowd surged forward in piquedinterest, opting for polite head nodding rather than hurling theirbodies into complete abandon, as Battles music often invites. Thiscould be in part due to Battles’ mind-twisting song formats, even moreamorphous in a live setting. Songs such as “Leyendecker,” “Tonto,” and”Atlas” left a few fans in a quizzical state of mind, but don’tunderestimate Battles’ musical elasticity. This supergroup of sortsremains a ridiculously talented foursome, following its own whimsy,embodied in superhuman drummer John Stanier and Tyondai Braxton’srobotic vocal delivery.
We asked:Battles is known for using a plethora of musical gadgets on stage.What’s your favorite musical gadget that you play, use, or simplyadmire?