Monday, June 9, 2008

Gnarls Barkley & Battles - Myspace Secret Show @ The Fillmore (Irving Plaza)

Battles took the stage in front of a surprisingly receptive crowd and delivered a brilliant set of "bionic rock". A writer once described Battles as half machine, half human. To date, this is one of the best descriptions of the band I have heard. Nowhere is this better exemplified, than in drummer John Stanier. This man is the core of the band, and is yes, a machine. Stanier has to be exact - his time, perfect. He is playing against preprogrammed beats, loops and samples that allow little room for improvisation or error. Stanier's perfection and energy drove the band. He went all out on every tune, and the other members of the band watched him for every perfectly executed change. What resulted was a crisp, fiercely creative, set of avant rock. Working with machines can make a musician's job very easy. Yet, Battles use machines to challenge themselves and their listeners. On stage last night, it was hard to tell the difference between man and machine.
Gnarls Barkley Review after the jump...

Gnarls Barkley took the stage about half an hour later. During that time, the ever rising heat in Irving Plaza seemed to sap the energy from the crowd. There was a slight pick-up as Gnarls took the stage. Cee-lo and "Danger-mouse" are genuine stars and that fact was wasted on no one. Yet, the set started off flat and listless. Cee-lo repeatedly tried to engage the crowd, to get some life out of them. But battling the insane temperature inside the venue was tough. He acknowledged this fact after every song - at one point saying "I'm just trying to get through this shit up here!" After a few well executed titty jokes (Cee-lo now stripped to a white "wife-beater" undershirt), everyone loosened up a bit. Cee-lo literally saved the set, as he dug deep for the song "Just a Thought" by far their best of the night. Yet in the end, it was nearly impossible to sustain that energy for every song. The set descended into a struggle against the heat. Cee-lo gave it his all, and kept me watching for a lot longer than I wanted to. I have no notes on Danger Mouse, the producer that has been slinging himself all around the music industry of late. Stripped of his name and flashy producer title, Brian is little more than just another backing musician on stage. Oh well.
Photo Credit BaoNguyen


Anonymous said...

I agree - Battles were great, I thought gnarls was pumpin.

Anonymous said...

it was hot as shit. f*"Fillmore" or whatever they call irving plaza these days.