bLA Readers Report Back from Battles at the Fonda, part 1!

IMG_0030.jpgLast week we sent a handful of winners to the Battles show at the Henry Fonda (thank yoo, Goldenvoice*). I love when you guys report back on the show. Here’s one of two great firsthand accounts! (And oh, I’ll be posting another contest for another bombass band–one of my favorites–tomorrow morning sometime.) bLA winner Michael Lockridge also sent in pictures! Lockridge, you are the awesome.

I recently had the pleasure of “winning” the opportunity to go see Battles for free, except for the drinks which kind of evened things out. They played at the Fonda in Hollywood, which is a decent enough place, and were opened by No Age. I have conflicted feelings toward this band. The band is comprised of two guys who didn’t take their ADD medication, or were still full of teenage angst. The whole set itself started out rocky but after each consecutive song I felt that they were getting better and better. By the time they were getting me hooked however, the set was over. Their music made me imagine myself thrashing with the giant bald guy next to me who didn’t move an inch the entire time I was there (not even a smile). At one point they asked the giant bald guy pointedly how he was doing. He didn’t respond at all and they played it off nicely by saying “Ok, we’ll talk later!” I see promise but they didn’t have the patience to take me there.

Battles is another story entirely…

IMG_0023.jpgThey started the set off with a noise that left you wondering where they were going until melody of sorts erupted from it.

Watching a band like this is something I was initially unsure about. I listened to their record before seeing them live and wasn’t sure what I was in for. Their sheer will to play is enough to captivate your attention. I also enjoy watching the process of live looping while also watching one of them perform something into the mic only to not hear it until later. Builds a unique kind of suspense to the music.

John Stanier, the drummer, really keeps the whole beast moving with an energy that must be exhausting. One of the cymbals on his kit is raised extra high so as to be over his entire set, almost making it so he has to stand up to hit it…which at one point he did. Tyondai Braxton (vocals, keyboard, guitar) is amazingly skilled at playing the keyboard and guitar at the same time and blending the two into what feels like one uniform instrument.

Tyondai had an amazing presence as he delivered a munchkin-eque cacophony of sounds and jerked around in his own kind of dance, much to my amusement. By the time he played their single, Atlas, the crowd was hooked. Battles had won everyone’s attention and kept it to the end of their set. Their songs tell stories that will bring out the wildest imagination in all of us. Albeit it will likely involve the seven dwarfs and a walk to your local acid-induced slave camp through the talking forest.

IMG_0028.jpgBattles put on such an immensely entertaining show that even the bald stoic guy next to me was bobbing his head. Also, I spotted for a little bit the security guy taking in the music with some approving nods. We all know how difficult it is to get those guys to show any type of emotion. It is good that no age got to play with Battles as there is much they could glean. Battles sucks you in with a brand of music that borrows from all of your favorite types of music and yet, is inexplicably original. In short: I like.

Thank you,
Michael Lockridge