Sweaty and packed like sardines into the West Village basement joint Le Poisson Rouge, it wasn't hard to feel the boil of Battles legendary live set. With the departure of founding member Tyondai Braxton, who left the group last year, a piece of the Battles legend no longer hit the stage. Their first NY show as a trio was probably more important than any casual fan realized, but that didn't stop them from busting muscles and blowing out ear canals. The omnipotent signature Battles cymbal hung over the crowd as drummer John Stanier was dripping with effort. Rhythm is essential to the Battles aesthetic, and they've got plenty of it.
Unfortunately Braxton's departure meant mostly new tunes on the (seemingly abbreviated) setlist but it was no less brain-shatteringly pumped up. The new single was a notable highlight of the show, landing somewhere in the middle (I only discovered it was the single afterwards).
Check out "Ice Cream" from their forthcoming album Gloss Drop for a better idea of their frenetic tuneology.
Gloss Drop is out in June on Warp Records.
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