Battles. Buke and Gase. Live review. Glasgow ABC. October 2015
Last time that I saw Battles play in Glasgow was in the Arches in about 2011. The intensity of their sound and the sheer volume in those tunnels under Central Station blew me away and left my ears ringing for days afterwards. It was absolutely packed as well, with a lively, sweaty crowd.
Four years later and touring to promote their latest album "La Di Da Di", the Arches has now closed down and we find ourselves in the more open space of the ABC on Sauchiehall Street. Maybe the space is too big, maybe their latest album isn't generating so much buzz, or maybe it wasn't a great idea to play on the same night as Godspeed You! Black Emperor are playing along the other end of the M8. Whatever the reason, the hall seems to have a bit too much space in it, and the audience remain a bit subdued throughout.
|Battles (and their improbably high cymbal) ABC, Glasgow|
Support act Buke & Gase play an excellent, jerky, unpredictable set and start to rouse the crowd. When Battles arrive on stage, Dave Konopka crouches on the floor for 5 or 10 minutes building up loops and rhythms before Ian Williams and John Stanier join him and give us "Dot Net" from the new album. The new album continues their experimental, post-rock/ math-rock/ jazz-rock sound. "Rock" is at the heart of it all though, with the forceful drumming of John Stanier front and centre on stage and in the sound. They batter through some great tunes, all angular and twitchy, but fail get the crowd engaged. Older songs like "Ice Cream" and "Atlas" get the biggest responses of the night, but when the band pause to briefly chat they acknowledge the flat feeling of the evening, asking "Did somebody die in the audience?". Their biggest cheer of the night, as they note themselves, is when they thank Glasgow for giving the world Mogwai.
I've seen them before and know that they are a great live act, but tonight they just seemed a bit flat. I think that was more down to them than to us.