Algiers have a bit of buzz about them right now, and i have to admit that i find their new record to be really enjoyable. The only problem is that the band is kind of electronic and i wondered how they would translate their sound to the live environment. So i went into this concert, the actual album release show for Algiers self-titled debut record, with a bit of trepidation. Lots of really great electronic acts are unable to pull off a live set. But if Algiers were unable to do so, well, i still had the record to listen to and enjoy.
The first act tonight was Twins, who i enjoyed back when i saw him open for Landing in 2013. Back then, he made odd dub-influenced electro pop that was pleasant to listen to in an art gallery. He's changed though. Tonight Twins channeled Gary Numan. This was goth disco: all harsh synths, swaggering booming beats, and deep vocals. It was pretty fun, taking me back to my mis-spent youth. If only he had covered This Corrosion...
The problem is that he just kept playing. And playing. And playing. I lost patience around the 20 minute mark, which i think was the middle of his set. Eventually, soundguy Peregrine got him off stage so that the show could move on. I understand that he is probably a friend of Algiers, but really dude -- as an opener you get 20 minutes or so. Don't overstay your welcome.
The second act was one i was wary of. Landline is a side project of some of the people in Carnivores. EvilSponge has a despise/dislike relationship with Carnivores. When we first started seeing them years ago, they wrote plodding tunes and for some god-awful reason would occasionally let the girl in the band sing, and she could not carry a tune in a bucket. The question going in was: is Landline her side-project?
The answer, thankfully, is no. She was in the crowd supporting her bandmate and was not allowed any nearer a microphone than the EvilSponge Minions, a fact which all those in attendance were no doubt thankful for.
Instead, this three-piece act made fun new wave music. Inspector Jason thought they reminded him of Let's Active. I wanted to compare them to early Robin Hitchcock. Either way, this was catchy music with a hint of new wave sparkle in the guitar.
I actually really enjoyed their set. Huh.
Finally it was time for the main act. But first, an interesting thing happened. I was in the front bar fetching a round of drinks (draught beer is still only available up front) when a group of four or five older African-American ladies showed up, dressed in their Sunday best and carrying pieces of paper. They spoke with the door guy and were escorted through the front bar to the music room. Someone told me that these were older female relatives of Algiers vocalist Franklin James Fisher. I am sure he wanted them to see him sing, but i am not sure that The EARL is the best venue for that. I would hate to see some hipster accidentally destroy a nice Sunday dress by spilling beer on it... But whatever.
Anyway, i went in and waited... And Algiers came out and were amazing from the get go! This was, simply, an incredible show. The three piece studio band was supplemented by a live drummer, which was a good addition. And the music was loud, furious, dark. They came across more industrial live than on record, sometimes almost pounding like Skinny Puppy, although James is a completely different type of singer than Ogre.
This was a great show. Algiers completely pulled it off. The band continues to impress.