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Radio UTD: Live Review

Battles at Granada, 10/22

Published on October 26th, 2011 

Written by Erin Gordon



Battles, formed in 2002, is a trio known for their work in other bands (drummer John Stanier is formerly of Helmet, guitarist/keyboardist Ian Williams is formerly of Don Caballero and Storm & Stress, and guitarist/bassist Dave Konopka is formerly of Lynx). Tyondai Braxton, who contributed vocals to their 2007 album Mirrored, recently left the band in 2010, and 2011’s Gloss Drop reflects a shift in the sound of the experimental rock band.


“Where is Gary Numan?” was a question posed by the audience on the Granada Theater’s Twitter feed long before Battles took the stage. Numan, along with Matias Aguayo and Blonde Redhead’s Kazu Makino, contributed vocals to the primarily-instrumental album, and many wondered how their collaborations on Gloss Drop would blend into the band’s set.


Needless to say, the three vocalists were featured throughout the performance on two screens behind the band; close-ups of Gary Numan singing “My Machines” accentuated the technical prowess of the band rather than overshadowing them. Stanier did not seem to tire throughout the hour the band was on stage (his arms were constantly moving in a rhythm that was anything but slow), and tracks like “Atlas” off of Mirrored and “Africastle” and “Inchworm” off of Gloss Drop were featured throughout the hour-or-so-long set.


Before the band’s final song, “Futura”, Konopka took the opportunity to show a line graph, displayed on the screens behind them, to the audience (Williams also took the time to receive questions from the audience. He doesn’t have a favorite Pokemon). After explaining that they were perfectionists, they had the crowd’s response “analyzed” in order to show the level of enthusiasm for each song. Conclusion? The “overall vibe = totally great!”


Tokyo, Japan’s Nisennenmondai opened for Battles to a positive crowd response. The trio, comprised of drummer Sayaka Himeno, bassist Yuri Zaikawa, and guitarist Masako Takada met in college, and are known internationally for their raw approach to instrumental rock. Himeno in particular captivated the audience with her tireless playing, and all three were humble and gracious to the crowd.


This show was definitively something worth attending!

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