HEALTH’s Get Color Record Release Show
September 11th, 2009 @ The Troubadour – Los Angeles, CA
I decided to watch from upstairs as San Francisco-based opening band, Mi Ami, took the stage. Daniel Martin-McCormick, the lead singer, casually walked out barefoot in his skinny jeans and began to play their first song. His high-pitched vocals and screeching guitar, mixed with tribal drumbeats and groovy basslines, hooked me in from the first song. This talented three-piece band had an explosive energy, and amidst their chaotic sound came some amazingly funky punk rock music. Their killer live performance was the perfect start to a great night of music.
Next up was Pictureplane, the stage name for 24-year-old DJ Travis Egedy, from Denver, CO. His eccentric fashion sense and homemade stage decor were the first things I noticed during his set up on stage. His keyboard and mixers were decorated with foil and what looked to be a hand-painted plastic tarp. It looked silly, but for some reason, the aesthetic worked. Using an iPod and synthesizer to play various tracks, Egedy also set up a small colored strobe light by his DJ station and had the venue turn all the lights out. It was a very surreal visual and audio experience, and his style of electronica was refreshing. Pictureplane’s music is a throw back to old school ’90s house mixed with raw futuristic pop sounds. It is magical and dark, with an ethereal quality, and it helps that everything about Egedy is unique. He is well on his way to big things in the world of electronic music.
LA’s Dam-Funk was the interlude MC between the bands. Aside from a few technical difficulties with his equipment that prevented his highly anticipated performance on the keytar from happening, he did his job quite well. At first, it seemed a bit out of place for a hip hop DJ playing ’70s and ’80s R&B music to be there, but his entertaining mic skills, funky beats, and G-Funk era vibe kept the party alive until HEALTH reached the stage.
I really didn’t know what to expect from HEALTH, because all I really had heard prior to this show was from their remix album, //Disco, including a remix that had been done by Crystal Castles. The younger hipster crowd, comprised of mostly males, really got into the performance once HEALTH took to the stage. Mosh pits broke out while I was at the front of the stage, and I realized that dodging flying elbows and being pounded left and right while trying to take photos probably wasn’t such a good thing. All this added to HEALTH’s dramatic live show that is essentially a mixture of performance art and cutting-edge noise rock.
They are loud — so loud that I bought a pair of two-dollar earplugs from the bartender so I would have my hearing left after the show. An intense drum collaboration between guitarist Jupiter Keyes and drummer BJ Miller was the highlight of the show for me, for it was something I’d never seen before. As the other band members dropping to the floor on their knees and playing with various noise pedals, the drums built up to a noise-filled crescendo that turned explosive and volatile. Jake Duzsik’s vocals lulled you into a trance-like state and the spat you out when they were substituted for screeching guitars and chaotic noises. John Famiglietti, the lanky bassist, was by far the most theatrical. He moved all over the stage, with his towering presence and long hair the centerpiece of the performance.
Initially, I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or to take HEALTH seriously, but halfway through the show, I “got it.” They take themselves seriously and definitely have the chops to back it up. It’s no wonder they have collaborated with Crystal Castles; the two bands share a similar chaotic energy in their live performances that is like an explosion of sounds.
If you haven’t seen these guys live yet, you are missing out.