najeeb’s picture of john stanier’s lone cymbal standing tall sums up quite nicely wednesday night’s battles gig. stanier, previously of hardcore band helmet, pounded away at the drums with clinical proficiency and profuse intensity, providing the rest of the band an unshakable foundation upon which all the other sounds could build upon. and build upon they did, twiddling each knob and plying every sample with a genuine playfulness and stunning coherence. however, the drum set as also the highlight of the evening for the wrong reasons, its flimsiness at the start clearly giving stanier a hard time, as he struggled through the first couple of songs trying to get the adjustments right, and having to leave the stage to get some weights to stabilize the battered drums. while the question goes out as to whether more help should have been rendered to him, his untiring work ethic and the rest of the band’s diligence in doing everything themselves certainly held the gig together. regardless, once the drums were secured that little bit more, the band blistered through the rest of the set, starting with the rousing “tonto”, which sounded so much bigger and alive than i’d ever heard before, making for one of the freshest and most vibrant gigs i’ve caught at the esplanade concert hall since tortoise quite some years back.
mp3: battles – tonto
thanks again to najeeb for the stellar photo!