Battles @ Kazimier, Liverpool 18.11.11

US experimental rock troupe visit Merseyside

Nov 18th, 2011 at Kazimier, Liverpool / By Alex Yau
Battles The pressure on Battles over the last year must have been nerve-wrecking. Just how do you live up to the standards of the phenomenal ‘Atlas’ and Mirrored – the albums figure headed by the same singer (Tyondai Braxton) who left midway through your third LP? Any regular band would have surely been crushed by the weight. Luckily, Battles aren’t any regular band. Returning with one of the finest albums of 2011, Gloss Drop silenced all sceptics and with an equally enthralling live show to boot, Battles proved they can do fine without their old frontman.

So we’re here at a packed Kazimier (no surprise, it’s one of their biggest headline shows to date), and with enough equipment to power a spaceship, Battles look ready to take the Mersey by storm. Drummer John Stanier leads the band tonight and although in his 40s, the man has the stamina and prowess to put most youths to shame. ‘Africastle’ opens the set with an explosion of chiming guitars and head-nailing drums whilst ‘Ice-Cream,’ a sway of worming, idiosyncratic keys and pounding bass lines, triggers the crowd into screaming ecstasy.

In a live setting, Battles energy is so much more exhilarating and it’s a highlight of how they’ve evolved over the years. ‘Atlas’ chirpy vocals and the dissonant, stabbing rhythms of ‘Tonto’ brings the night to a nostalgic high-point, and as ‘Sundome’ ends their set, we ask ourselves: “Who exactly is Tyondai?”