Liars’ Angus Andrew was on the small stage at the Biltmore Cabaret arrooo-wahhh-woooing aimlessly through the quieter new stuff from WIXIW. So tuneless was it, that Liars were risking moving out of “artsy hipster” territory into “kinda rubbish.” Drummer Julian Gross and keyboard/guitar/drummer Aaron Hemphill gamely kept pace, but man….mud.
It’s not like the Liars’ new album WIXWI isn’t good – it’s a decent, fuzzier, sludgier and more syth-heavy attempt than their previous glitchy noise-rock stuffs, and it’s not like Andrew’s flat warbling doesn’t exist there either, but there’s more texture than live. Recorded, there’s a ton of weirdy analog sounds, and so for the live set I was preparing for something BIGGER. Tonight, this new stuff was giving me a bad sense of the fidgets.
Opener “Exact Color of Doubt” was slow and mumbly, ditto for “Octagon”, “Ill Valley Prodigies” and “Who is the Hunter”. “WIXIW” brought with it its nice church organy loop but failed to trip out as effectively as it could have.
Only on swoony “No. 1 Against the Rush”, did the sound come together, and on “Brats” in which Liars effectively channeled UK’s Lo-Fidelity Allstars for a gritty dance mush. Not bad.
But what did the stoned kids really want? I mean, what did they really, really want? What did the girl with the curly hair who pushed in front of us, then moved and pushed in front of others, then got on the stage on her knees thrashing and ululating while the rest of the front rows went APESHIT?
The old stuff.
Yeah, that’s right. THE KIDS WANTED THE OLD STUFF. The noisy, twitchy, methed-up LARGE stuff. They wanted “Scarecrows on a Killer Slant” and to shriek “WHY’D YOU SHOOT THE MAN WITH THE GUN!?” over and over again. They wanted “Plaster Casts of Everything” to help them wake up to and slam into each other. They wanted to yell “BLOOD” until they were hoarse for “Broken Witch”.
And they got them. And in those moments, the Liars were incendiary. Loud, ugly, rock n’ roll that commanded attention. Too bad we had to wade through a swamp to get here.
Now if you’ll excuse me I’ve got to go and write an angry letter to the newspaper about those hooded hooligans on skateboards who congregate in the town square. BAH. \m/