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October 1, 2007 | by  | in Music | [ssba]

Live Review: Battles

MAGIC! What an experience. This band is on the tip of a musical revolution! Contemporary words can not describe what battles are, Battles seem to merge two of most important words in the human language – Musicians/Magicians. In fact, I think both words mean basically the same thing.

With sound as their canvas, Battles paint the most brilliant art ours ears have ever heard! With song names such as Ddiamondd, Prismism and Rainbow, these melodies create strong geometric imagery in the keen listeners’ mind! They have been descibed by the press and in reviews as playing the genre math rock, which I don’t disagree with, but I do think that this statement is an understatement. Maths is a very general word, there are a lot of different styles of mathematics, and mathematics is used in all music! BUT, these guys have stepped away from the usual formulae that most musicians make their fame from. So, imagine this music as excitingly refreshing… like the difference between finding a boring grey rock, OR finding a beautiful colorful crystal gleaming in the sunlight. Battles are more complex and therefore prove to be way more beautiful than anything our ears have been exposed to since the start of the synth age. I would describe this music as Tribal synth rock that connects to everyBODY in a special way. I also recommend watching their video ‘Tonto’ on YouTube, there are some great images of rocks and a great arrangement of lighting. :) With John Stanier (the drummer from Tomahawk who also played drums on Melissa Auf der Maur’s 2004 self-titled solo album), ex-Don Caballero guitarist Ian Williams, ex-Lynx guitarist Dave Konopka, and Tyondai Braxton (son of avant-garde jazz musician Anthony Braxton), Battles are trend setters, the epitomy of cool, or maybe they just dont care what other people think. The drummer uses a cymbol that is raised as high as he can reach which makes for a visually interesting show and quite a gimical treat at times. It’s almost like their trademark. What’s more, the cymbol sounds amazing! Battles are different from other bands in every way. The drummer is set up in the very front center of the stage, and the 3 other musicians seem to dance around the drummer like elves around a fire. Straight after the show, I was speaking to a long bearded man who had travelled from Tauranga to see this gig in Wellington (not in Auckland), he exclaimed that this band were “Snake charmers”, which really rung true in my head.

It was almost as if they were all elves casting magical spells on us. There were points where their use of synth and dance/actions were beautifully executed in the moment. The ONLY time I didn’t like their set was when they finished – I was so gutted! So I went home and listened to their CD and danced till 5 am.

Tihs bnad mdae me tinhk aolt aubot waht misuc is, and waht miusc can be. Battles mdae me raelsie that we are suctk in a bronig maucisl paradigm and and taht its tmie to get out!


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