photos by PSquared Photography; words by Bill Pearis
BEAK> @ Bowery Ballroom, 2/10/2013
"This is a b-side to a single that none of you have ever heard," was Geoff Barrow's introduction to "Kenn," which is the flip to last year's "Mono" 7". He then added, "Ok, maybe one of you have. Hi, mom."
Barrow (better known for his other band, Portishead) was in a jovial mood last night (2/10) at Bowery Ballroom, spending most of the time behind the drumkit with his band, BEAK>, joking with the crowd between songs, or when his kickdrum pedal broke in the middle of "Wolfstan II," probably the most rocking song of the band's terrific set. A mix of Krautrock and post-punk influences, BEAK> are not breaking any new ground, but the band (including bassist Billy Fuller, and keyboardist/guitarist Matt Williams) are such accomplished musicians and possessors of good taste, it doesn't matter. And as a trio that feed off each other, with scratchy 16mm projections behind them, they are totally badass.
Openers last night were BEAK>'s Stones Throw labelmates Chrome Canyon. While on record it is just Morgan Z, live Chrome Canyon is a full band who bring its early-'80s synth vision to life. It's a very narrow focus -- somewhere around 1982, between Jan Hammer, Wendy Carlos, the themes to Knight Rider and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy miniseries -- but they do it very well. And Morgan Z (last night dressed in some sort of shiny silver shirt Brian Eno might've worn in 1975) works a theremin with more conviction than anyone I've ever seen.
BEAK>, who DJ'd at the ACE Hotel on Saturday (anyone go?) are now off to the West Coast for a couple shows. Picturess from Chrome Canyon's set, and more from BEAK> (including one of the setlist), below...