TVD Live: Battles at
the 9:30 Club, 10/30

With the recent rise in popularity of indie bands adding an electronic or dubstep influence to their songs, it can be hard to weed through the generic artists and find the interesting ones. But with one listen to Battles, you can tell they are the real deal.

With no vocalist in the band, the music they perform and create is truly at the forefront; sonically, and physically in their presence, each instrument and sound kit was jutted right up against the edge of the stage of the 9:30 Club on Sunday night.

As guitarists Ian Williams and Dave Konopka turned knobs, adjusted dials and tapped on pedals while managing to still rock out on their respective axes, I looked on in amazement and kept wondering, “How do they possibly record albums? How do you even play the same song twice?”

Drummer John Stanier works equally as hard on drums and other percussion instruments. This was evidenced by his thoroughly sweat-soaked shirt (and even his pants!) on-stage, and by his destroyed drum sticks, which were being hit on his kit so hard that at one point small wood splinters were flying off in pieces. Clearly the band was working as a well oiled machine, even without former member Tyondai Braxton, who left the band in the summer of 2010 to pursue other projects.

Many tracks from 2007’s Mirrored were played, but the real treat were the new songs played from the band’s June release from this year, Gloss Drop.

Dual light boards occupied the space behind the band flashing bright colors and images at the audience of the band’s name, album covers and other relevant art. For certain songs there were also inviduals providing “vocals” to the songs being played, and because Gloss Drop has a pastel/neopolitan type of theme, light blues and pinks flashed on the screens, spliced with images of large globs of ice cream. Combined with their music, this created a total-oversensory atmosphere that few bands even attempt to pull off; of course, this is something for which Battles is well-known.

Photos by Amy Willard

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