By Suzie Hicks:
Despite the almost unbearable heat of the 2pm sun, Battles continued to warm up the crowd. Founded in New York City in 2002 by guitarist/keyboardist Ian Williams, this almost entirely instrumental experimental rock group released their debut album EP C/B EP in 2006, to be followed by three more albums entitled Mirrored, Gloss Drop, and La Di Da Di.
Their song “Atlas” was voted “Best Single of the Week” by NME magazine in 2007, so it wasn’t surprising when they started with that tune. Continually, their music has been featured in many commercials, TV shows and movies across the globe, including the UK teen show Skins, FIFA 12 video games, and the Twilight Saga’s third installation: Eclipse.
The performance featured bright yellow drums and drummer (John Stanier) front and center, with Ian Williams and Dave Konopka on either side shredding on the strings and dropping in effects. While almost entirely devoid of lyrics, the performance lacked absolutely nothing. The trio created a wild mishmash of sounds—many that an audience member wouldn’t expect to go together—and built upon them to create a truly immersive experience.
Some of their songs started off gently, with the three simply playing their designated instruments, but grew in intensity as the music continued—layering sound over an ever-impressive beat. Other songs, however, began and ended with high energy noise coming from all directions. The members engaged with the crowd members in more than just music, speaking directly to the crowd (and at one point their families) in between songs.
It was extremely evident that the three were having fun on stage while jamming on their multiple instruments, and that translated well to the audience. The crowd continued to grow and grow and as the band hit their last (or last 100) notes, the crowd erupted into a sweaty roar before flooding the drink stations.