Posted in music | pictures | tour dates on April 28, 2011

words & photos by Benjamin Lozovsky

Battles

Battles does things unwaveringly big. Even to the point of absurdity. On Wednesday night during their performance at Le Poisson Rouge, the first in New York in close to two years, bassist/guitarist Dave Konopka addressed the audience from a microphone well above his head, guitarist/keyboardist Ian Williams clanged on a cowbell seven feet in the air, and drummer John Stanier beat his iconic, loftily-placed crash cymbal with a ferocious anger. Even as the band got smaller last August when former member Tyondai Braxton departed to focus on a solo career, the group's sound and unorthodox yet seemingly perfected performance style has remained colossal.

Despite its continued heft, Battles' music has grown crucially smaller though, or at least more focused in its sights. Their upcoming second album, Gloss Drop, is a groove heavy, manically driven dance party rife with afro beat pulsations and steel drum mimicking guitars. There are far fewer moments of disjointed weirdness, ambient buildups, or meandering walks through a stoner wasteland. The band continued their transformation to a tight three piece by running through a set of strictly new numbers from Gloss Drop, bringing the increasingly greater organic side of their music to vivid fruition.

From the onset of set opener "Africastle," the group's transition was clear. The song began with an unnerving and spatial introduction light on percussion yet full of anxiety, but eventually gave way to the first of many loop-based, cyclical grooves that pummeled with immediacy and stripped down tenacity.

It continued with the surprisingly springy and airy "Sweetie & Shag," gilded with wry affection thanks to guest vocals by Blonde Redhead's Kazu Makino. Although Makino wasn't there in person, her vocals were broadcast along with the music in video projections synced up with the band's performance, as were other the contributions of other collaborators like Matias Aguayo and Gary Numan. Numan's video cameo occurred towards the end of the set, his mascara-blackened façade looking on and looming like a stern communist propaganda icon.

Gloss Drop is due on June 7th via Warp Records, and Battles has many more shows scheduled before and after then including ATP's I'll be Your Mirror in Asbury Park on October 2nd. All tour dates, the setlist from LPR and more pictures are below...

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BATTLES - 2011 TOUR DATES
APRIL 29 Toronto, Canada - Mod Club
APRIL 30 Chicago, US - Lincoln Hall
MAY 02 Los Angeles, US - Echoplex (moved from The Echo)
MAY 03 San Francisco, US - Bottom of the Hill
MAY 04 Portland, US - Doug Fir
MAY 05 Seattle, US - Crocodile
MAY 27 Barcelona, Spain - Primavera Sound
MAY 28 Dudingen, Switzerland - Kilbi Festival
MAY 30 St Gallen, Switzerland - Palace
MAY 31 Marseille, France - Espace Julien
JUNE 01 Lyon, France - Nuits Sonores Festival
JUNE 02 Poitiers, France - Confort Moderne
JUNE 03 Brighton, UK - Concorde2
JUNE 04 Manchester, UK - O2 Apollo with Caribou
JUNE 05 Dublin, Ireland - Forbidden Fruit Festival
JUNE 06 Leeds, UK - Cockpit
JUNE 07 Glasgow, UK - The Arches
JUNE 08 London, UK - Heaven
JUNE 09 Amsterdam, The Netherlands - Melkweg
JUNE 10 Dortmund, Germany - FZW
JUNE 11 Munich, Germany - Feierwerk
JUNE 12 Hamburg, Germany - Uebel & Gefährlich
JUNE 25 Glastonbury Festival, UK - John Peel Stage
JUNE 26 Cardiff, UK - Millennium Music Hall
JUNE 27 Birmingham, UK - HMV Institute
JULY 01 Belfort, France - Eurockeennes Festival
JULY 02 London - Wireless Festival
JULY 15 Chicago, US - Pitchfork Music Festival
JULY 29-31 Fuji Rock Festival, Naeba Ski Resort, Japan
AUGUST 10 Cannes, France - Festival Pantiero
AUGUST 12 Hertfordshire - Standon Calling Festival
AUGUST 13 Saint-Malo, France - Festival la Route du Rock
OCTOBER 2 Asbury Park, NJ ATP I'll Be Your Mirror
DECEMBER 9-11 Minehead UK - BATTLES ARE CURATING ATP/NBC

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Tags: Battles

Comments (62)

Great photos!!! I was at the show and it was really intense. John was sweating his ass off. That dude's laundry bill has got to be brutal!

Sucks they didn't do anything off the first record but the new stuff sounds pretty sweet live.

Posted by Anonymous | April 28, 2011 4:48 PM

why'd they even bother to keep going?

Posted by Anonymous | April 28, 2011 4:49 PM

I spotted Jon Brion in the crowd. He knows what's up.

Posted by Anonymous | April 28, 2011 4:59 PM

if you put something in a hard place to get to, then getting to it, makes you different.

Posted by annie momus | April 28, 2011 5:01 PM

OPINION

I was at the show and was disappointed. Their sound is bordering obnoxious now with the over use of asynchronous loops. The video singers didn't match up well with the live audio. Ice Cream in particular just sounded muddy. I am sad that I have to their shambling corpse of a band again at ATP.

/OPINION

Posted by Tom | April 28, 2011 5:03 PM

Opinion... you're a douche!

Posted by Anonymous | April 28, 2011 5:12 PM

wow, Jon Brion? wish I'd have seen him there. I spotted Zach Galifianakis. anyhow, show was killer, not as good as Bowery/NYU but still spot on.

Posted by Anonymous | April 28, 2011 5:19 PM

"I am sad that I have to their shambling corpse of a band again at ATP."

That doesn't make any sense. Learn how to write you fucking idiot!

Posted by Anonymous | April 28, 2011 5:26 PM

I was able to get Stainer's shirt after. I rung out the sweat into a my glass of whiskey. Then drank it. I didn't get sick or anything. Good show!

Posted by anonymehous | April 28, 2011 5:36 PM

I was disappointed also. The fact that they didn't go on until 10:30 with no opener annoyed me. And their new songs kind of annoy me too. The layers of sound are not as interesting as on previous records. They played their asses off, and Stanier is always fun to watch, but, ultimately, seeing this stuff performed live didn't do much for me. Maybe the record will grow on me.

Posted by Dee | April 28, 2011 5:39 PM

LPR WAS TOO SMALL FOR THEM (the stage anyway) COULDNT see a gosh darn thing from the middle. Sounded great, but without getting to see what theyre up to may as well be listening to the record. I also give em props for continuing on as a group

Posted by Anonymous | April 28, 2011 5:47 PM

I loved Mirrors, but could not have been happier that they stuck to the new stuff last night. It sounded like evil robots from the future playing dance music. Incredible energy, amazing compositions, and all executed brilliantly. This band is continuing to break new ground.

Posted by Anonymous | April 28, 2011 5:49 PM

A complex band like this probably enjoys a complex hummus.

Posted by Anonymous | April 28, 2011 6:06 PM

that's the first hummus joke i've lolled at in a long time. bravo.

Posted by complex | April 28, 2011 6:29 PM

very disappointed in last night's show. I think it's ridiculous to not play ANY old material, part. over the course of a 70 or so minute show. I understand the dude that left was a big part of the best known tracks from Mirrored & the EPs, but come on.

they should have at least made it clear before tix went on sale what was going to happen at these shows. alot of the new stuff sounded interesting and i will probably get into it, but i think its a ripoff to do your first show in what...over two years around here and not play anything anyone knows, especially since the album isnt even out until June and not everybody even knows it leaked already!

i wont be seeing Battles again unless i see a setlist first. not cool.

Posted by Anonymous | April 28, 2011 6:43 PM

I dont really like Battles, and their noise-rock-whatever-stuff, but was worth the price of admission to be in the same room with Jon Brion and Zack Galifinkhakis.

I also don't pay my own rent. BITCHES!

Posted by Anonymous | April 28, 2011 6:49 PM

I dont really like Battles, and their noise-rock-whatever-stuff, but was worth the price of admission to be in the same room with Jon Brion and Zack Galifinkhakis.

I also don't pay my own rent. BITCHES!

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you are an idiot.

Posted by Anonymous | April 28, 2011 7:12 PM

I do not have Battles in my life anymore

Posted by Anonymous | April 28, 2011 7:46 PM

all my friends are junkies - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FbK6gJfSYYY

Posted by Anonymous | April 28, 2011 9:08 PM

i fucking LOVE 'mirrored' and was concerned that i'd be disappointed, but thought that the show last night was intense and that they sounded fucking tight. it's kind of hilarious that battles are being derided here as too dependent on loops - they make fascinating music in a way that 99% of the bands out there couldn't even imagine, i'm not sure how people can just write them off. i saw don cab numerous times back in the day, and they really did get boring. lpr is a great-sounding club and the crowd (surprisingly young in places) was really into it. for me, this is how music should be seen - in a small club with people that are there because they're interested.

Posted by Anonymous | April 28, 2011 10:20 PM

yoko broke up the beatles

Posted by Anonymous | April 28, 2011 10:40 PM

wtf. kazu lives on 4th street. she couldn't walk over to lpr to put in a live vocal?

Posted by Anonymous | April 28, 2011 11:41 PM

Yoko broke up Battles

Posted by Anonymous | April 28, 2011 11:48 PM

I came across this review, and he nails it. I was in the front near that photographer and he was such an asshole!

http://according2g.com/2011/04/battles-live-at-le-poisson-rouge/

Hipsters.

Posted by anonymous | April 29, 2011 8:55 AM

^ wow... i wonder what other photogs he was talking smack about. interesting

Posted by Anonymous | April 29, 2011 9:23 AM

A band that certainly deserves a lot more than the asinine comments left on this board. Unfortunately New York's concert scene will continue to be just that, a scene. This city offers plenty of other things to do in a evening. Why go see a band your mind will never be able to wrap around?

Posted by Anonymous | April 29, 2011 9:28 AM

why comment on asinine comments with an asinine comment?

Posted by Anonymous | April 29, 2011 10:08 AM

Why throw out a perfectly good pita chip?

Posted by Anonymous | April 29, 2011 10:23 AM

As a longtime and devoted Battles fan, I was disappointed with this show, and it only confirmed my assertion that they should have broken up after Ty left. He was the heart and soul of this band, and while I don't discredit the other members of the band (since they are all obviously very talented) it is very clear that Battles is not Battles without Ty. It was a lazy move to pipe the vocals in (especially Kazu's, since as previously mentioned she could have shown up for this -- I dont think blonde redhead is currently touring), but I'm not surprised that they stuck to the new stuff -- it's the only stuff that this band can play without Ty, and to try to recreate their past magic would be foolish (and they most certainly understand that [or are bitter about his departure and want a fresh start]). The sound was also terrible at this show. I understand their decision to carry on as a band, and I commend them for rising above the turmoil and managing to make a (mostly) good record, but I don't think they'll be able to do it again, without the framework that was laid down in Ty's studio sessions for this record.

As much as it pains me to say it, Battles 2.0 is in trouble. I hope I'm proven wrong, but I'm not confident after seeing that performance.

Posted by Anonymous | April 29, 2011 10:41 AM

I dont really like Battles, and their noise-rock-whatever-stuff, but was worth the price of admission to be in the same room with Jon Brion and Zack Galifinkhakis.

I also don't pay my own rent. BITCHES!

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you are an idiot.


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actually, you are an idiot for failing to get the joke.

Posted by Anonymous | April 29, 2011 10:44 AM

"w/special guests" ??

what, you mean Galiafanakis?

Posted by Anonymous | April 29, 2011 11:07 AM

10:41 are you Ty's biatch or pr lackey?
Maybe you liked it with him better, but he wasn't the best part of the group at all. In fact when he started bringing those stupid vocals on Mirrored in I almost stopped listening to the band. So glad he is gone, show was awesome and if you are dissing the sound you must have been in the bathroom, because the sound was stellar in the club where I was standing...

Posted by Anonymous | April 29, 2011 11:28 AM

Well, we'll see, right?

Posted by Anonymous | April 29, 2011 11:46 AM

that's just like, my opinion, man

Posted by the dude | April 29, 2011 11:50 AM

Dear Brooklyn Vegan,

Someone posted a link to my review of the Battles show which included some not so positive comments about your photographer who stood behind me, constantly bumping into me, talking shit about other photographers you use for your site and then had the AUDACITY to complain on my site that because he has a press pass, he is entitled to behave any way he likes.

I hope you stop using this photographer. What an asshole!!

Thanks!
G

Posted by According2g | April 29, 2011 12:25 PM

whoa-oh... bv photog drama is heating up

Posted by Anonymous | April 29, 2011 12:58 PM

Sounds like you got served and are still in shock about it.

Bird superior = 1

You = 0

Posted by Anonymous | April 29, 2011 1:26 PM

How did G get served? I'm not disputing one way or another but he makes some interesting points.

Posted by Anonymous | April 29, 2011 1:37 PM

Did G get served a hummus platter? Because if he did, I would also like to get served.

Posted by Anonymous | April 29, 2011 1:44 PM

They always used loops live.

Posted by Anonymous | April 29, 2011 1:53 PM

@1:26 who is OBVIOUSLY the photographer. You really should get over yourself. You can really take your press pass and stick it where the bird superior don't shine.

You were annoying in person. You were annoying on my site and now you are annoying here.

Bird Superior = Annoying.
According2g = not bothered by you.

as 1:37 pointed out - how did I get served? I covered 3 events that night, you covered one. Two of the events I covered were of legends (Martha Wash and John Waters). Battles, while amusing - FAR from legends.

Posted by According2g | April 29, 2011 2:08 PM

this keeps getting better and better.

round 2... FIGHT!

tooooasty!

Posted by Anonymous | April 29, 2011 2:18 PM

not the photographer you are speaking of...but i know your type. just stand in the front row with your shitty camera, so you can post your shitty pictures to your shitty blog, not moving and obstructing the view and good time of those around you. maybe the photog in question bumped into you a couple times...all it takes is to simply ask him to move out of your way instead of your passive agressive behavior which again gets reflected on your shitty blog. i have a tip for you..stick to your day job, if you have one: http://a1.twimg.com/profile_images/1214862692/Twitter_Pic.jpg

Posted by Anonymous | April 29, 2011 7:17 PM

hahahaha

Posted by Anonymous | April 29, 2011 7:38 PM

Is that according2g? Hahaha! More like according to guido!

Posted by Anonymous | April 30, 2011 12:26 AM

^ is that bird superior and G 'making up'?

Posted by Anonymous | April 30, 2011 10:40 AM

HAHAHAHA WTF?!?!?!?!

Posted by Anonymous | April 30, 2011 12:08 PM

Jesus, it looks like that bird is getting a little too superior up on Guido!

Posted by Anonymous | April 30, 2011 12:38 PM

I concur with the comments that indicate the show was a disappointment. The video-vocals and the on-stage sound were obviously still a work-in-progress so I don't knock them for that... but it definitely felt like there was something missing from the new material and the performance. I hate to point to the obvious but even if the band continues beyond the new record I'm not sure they'll ever be able to find enough presence to make up for Braxton's departure.

And to (le) pissedon rouge: Stating on a ticket that the show starts at 9pm, only to have the only band come on at 10:40, is total bullshit. If you're gonna but a showtime on the ticket, try to have the fucking show start somewhere in the neighborhood of that time!

Posted by Anonymous | April 30, 2011 7:24 PM

ha G is a dork

Posted by Anonymous | April 30, 2011 9:04 PM

According2g's website is ranked 13,000,000 sites higher than Benjamin Loser-ovsky's site, so I don't really think the type of camera used is the issue.

Wise up.

PS. I was at the Battles show too. I missed the mele, but I enjoyed the show. Wish it would have started sooner though.

Posted by anonymous | May 1, 2011 8:58 AM

That photographer that G points out (Benjamin Lozovsky) was an asshole for sure. It was obvious he went out of his way to push people which is why when he purposefully bumped into me at the Battles show I elbowed him in the ribs.

And G works it! Just go to http://according2g.com and view all the adventures and amazing exclusive content.

Posted by Patsy | May 1, 2011 9:09 AM

patsy = G.

i bet that's what you let the boys call you.

Posted by Anonymous | May 1, 2011 10:04 AM

Off the subject of the actual Battles performance, pushing and shoving in a crowd is rarely appreciated unless it's an all out mosh pit. If you're looking for that kind of action, go to Roseland. The photographer / writer of this post was acting like he and his gear owned the fucking room. If you're going to act like a dick don't get all surprised when you are called on it. According to G has a right to speak his mind.

Posted by Gail | May 1, 2011 11:57 AM

G? YAWN.

Posted by Anonymous | May 1, 2011 11:58 AM

Most photographers are annoying twats.

Just fuckin push them away if they're bothering you.

Or just rock out and have a beer in your hand and pour on their camera and they'll learn their lesson.

Posted by Anonymous | May 1, 2011 1:52 PM

this guy G is insane in the membrane.

Posted by Anonymous | May 1, 2011 4:24 PM

this just may be the greatest BV thread of all time

Posted by Anonymous | May 2, 2011 9:32 AM

KANYE IS PLAYING WITH DONALD GLOVER ON 5/10 AT BOWERY BALLROOM

Posted by Anonymous | May 2, 2011 12:03 PM

i just dont see why it has to be all new songs? "Rainbow" is almost purely instrumental, they could easily sing
ty's (awesome) vocals. ill see them in october i hope they wise up and realize how much they loved their old songs.

Posted by tool | July 7, 2011 11:39 PM

that's the first hummus joke i've lolled at in a long time. bravo.

Posted by ChristopherCoelho | October 26, 2012 3:29 AM

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