Busdriver with Daedelus and Antimc
In The Venue
All Photos by Dave Madden
I’ll skip my rants about In the Venue’s penchant for always booking a large crowd show and a small crowd show (trying to hear the small show over the din of said large show is impossible) and just say thanks for leaving me and every other journalist off the Liars/Interpol list. We all really appreciated waiting in line twice (thanks to the dude who heard my tale of woe and gave me his extra ticket…gave…gratis…nothing involved…who does that?!)
And bands, if you promise a +1, please do it, otherwise my girlfriend and I will probably have a hard time watching you play without mentally screaming “give me my $15!” (you felt my eyes burning into you, didn’t you?) I’m not being cheap, I just hate the disappointment and I generally plan out to-the-dollar how much I can spend at shows. I’m sure there are a few paid Chuck Klostermans who get the assignment, come down, watch half your songs, drink for free then churn out a regurgitated 500 words (I worked Sundance, I saw these jerks). Us SLUG writers, however, are here to see you because we actually enjoy your music (or someone in the lineup’s music) and requested the review. So don’t burn bridges over $15, okay? Plus that money was meant for one of your shirts! You would rather the venue make the money (do the net vs. gross math of a shirt sale vs. a ticket sale in your head)? Suit yourselves. I digress.
To a crowd of 20 (plus the 8000 Tiger Army fans who peered in from the bar), Antimc and cohort Devin “Desert Eagles” Foley, armed with a mountain of Korgs, electric guitar and bass, MPC, turntables and laptops, unassumingly took the stage and offered a short set resembling something between a Justice and Boards of Canada show. The duo, short a piece of their usual live trio (one is doing a little “time” because of “traffic tickets”), offered bits of vocoded singing, tapped out beats, roaring square bass, analog atonalities, record scratches and affected guitars. Perhaps the absent member takes up the slack, or the drive from L.A. got to them (SLC is the first date of the tour), or dining at Alberto’s sunk their spirits, or the stupid fact that the audience (and band, I assume) could hear Tiger Army next door, but the group seemed a little tired and uninspired, failing to excite the crowd beyond a little toe-tapping – until they brought Busdriver up for their joint track, “Bellies Full of Rain."
A few minutes later, Daedelus aka Alfred Weisberg-Roberts, a man with a laptop and his MIDI controller extraordinaire, The Monome (Monome if you’re nasty), steps onstage and kills it. A simple interaction before his set, a plea of “I’m not sure what I’m going to do/let me know if you like what I’m doing”, proved to be the only cue this audience needed to let loose; Daedelus drops a beat, the crowd likes it, the crowd whistles and cheers, Daedelus humbly backs up, smiles shakes his arms out, Daedelus drops in another cool element. For a half-hour or so, he continued in this fashion, vigorously sweeping his hands across the Monome like a broom on dust-bunnies, sprinkling in melodies and vocals from tracks such as “Impending DOOM (feat. MF DOOM)”, “Just Barely”, his remix of “My Boo” (Ghost Town DJ’s), leaving us guessing, “Is that Stacy Q? Wait, was that a Britney sample?” The bass pummeled, the lights from the Monome tinkled and advanced and Daedelus’s New Balances – complementing his dandy-esque suit – paced. Having seen clips of Daedelus before, I can attest that, despite the diminished audience, this is one of his more exciting and physically animated gigs.
Barely giving us enough time to silently mock the two baby-faced dorks sporting enormous cigars (not a metaphor) while picking up on two uninterested girls (these guys clearly took notes of “break way too close into personal space/act like a dick” from The Pick-Up Artist), Busdriver and his backup band, Antimc, jumped straight into it. Antimc, now in their role as producer, were visibly more confident, nodding heads, swaying in unison and confidently recreating Busdriver’s music as the MC hopped, pounded and stalked the stage in his tan polyester floods, white belt, vintage Duran Duran t-shirt and trademark pointed, too-small kid’s birthday party hat. Making love to two microphones (one hooked to effects), Busdriver, a true entertainer, toyed with his recorded oeuvre, slurring the words on the stadium-rap, Broadway musical-like “Casting Agents and Cowgirls” and successfully enlisting the audience to pump fists along with the Gary Numan/Hot Chip style “Sun Shower”. Seeing and hearing this word-smith’s hyperactive flow is a treat; he can weave a wordy campaign then deliver a machine-gun barrage just behind/in front of the beat then nail it when he deems fit – in other words, he’s having fun at being smart. The rest of the crowd loved it too, demanding requests such as “Imaginary Places” and swarming the stage like he was Kanye.
Despite the extraneous snags, overall, a very interesting and pleasing evening with an eclectic L.A. crew.