Saturday, July 14, 2007

Battles @ The Triple Rock

I'm old; I have a job I have to be to at 8am, no sooner, no later; and my days of going to shows and drinking my face off are over. But I am proud to say that I can still sustain a late show at the Triple Rock without too much pain and annoyance. Specifically in this case, the groggy morning was totally worth it. Battles is a relatively new band, but all four members carry with them their own cache of experience. Front and center, both literally and figuratively is ex-Helmet drummer John Stanier, pounding out the framework of the music on his safety yellow drum kit with the highest cymbal in the world. Not far behind is Ian Williams of Don Caballero working the guitar, keyboard, computer and a whole host of effect gadgets. Tyondai Braxton has his own experience as a musician, but also a genetic gold star being the son of avant-garde jazz musician Anthony Braxton. Tie it all up with guitarist Dave Konopka, and you get some pretty mad music.

Battles is a math rock band, and contrary to popular belief, this does not just mean the members can do math. Generally, math rock function outside of the normal 4/4 meter music, but mostly I'm just talking out my ass, because I don't know what meter these guys play in. I can say that their music has a more free-form structure
and some pretty complicated layering. There were many times during the show I couldn't figure out who was looping what. Three out of four members had guitars slung over their shoulders and a multitude of pedals and looping devices. Guitarist Dave Konopka actually spent much of his time on the floor messing with something I couldn't see. The only thing I was really sure of was who was drumming. In the end, it didn't really matter who was doing what because it was easy to get lost in the patterns and layers and rhythms.

Incredibly rockin' Building Better Bombs and space-jammin' Singer opened the show.

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