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Name: Adam Bernard
Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States
About Me: Entertainment journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome.
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Ladytron @ Irving Plaza
Wednesday, April 19, 2006

This past Saturday I was back in NYC for another concert, this time around it was to see Ladytron. Once again I found myself at Irving Plaza, one of the easiest places to get to in NYC, but the atmosphere was decidedly different from last Tuesday’s Buckcherry show. Before the opening act hit the stage on Saturday people were, I kid you not, sitting on the floor. It was a very weird sight, seeing all those folks just chillin on the hardwood floor that only a few nights ago was sticky with the remnants of spilled drinks and whatever was tread in on the bottoms of people’s shoes. With all those people sitting the floor looked like the lawn at your average college campus on a nice spring day.

Opening the show was French Kicks, and much like Rock n Roll Soldiers made little sense as an opening act for Buckcherry French Kicks made no sense as an opening act for Ladytron. Actually, after hearing them, French Kicks doesn’t make a good opening act, or headlining act, for anyone. The French Kicks vibe is that of mellow college rock. It’s the kind of music I hear when I have to run the loop on the computer at WVOF after my radio show, not very palatable for the ears. French Kicks’ lead singer whined more often than sang and at times his whine was so bad I just wanted to shoot him to put him out of his misery. Maybe he was trying to channel Radiohead, but it just wasn’t working for me. After a set full of songs that all sounded completely alike French Kicks finally left the stage.

Ladytron was ready to get things started at around 10PM, a nice early start, which made sense since they performed for around 90 minutes. I honestly had no idea their songbook was so vast but they definitely had a lot of favorites to go through as this was their first performance in NYC in three years. Thumping bass lines and 80’s influenced electronic trance-rock ruled the night as soon as Ladytron started performing. At one point, about three songs into the show, all the lighting was red and the bass that was permeating through everyone’s bodies and moving the walls suddenly brought about the memory of the opening “bloodbath” scene from Blade. If blood had come pouring down from the sprinkler system at that point it wouldn’t have surprised me one bit (OK, in the literal sense it would have surprised the heck out of me, but contextually I wouldn’t have been shocked).

There were plenty of things worth noticing about Ladytron’s performance on Saturday night. During a rendition of “He Took Her To A Movie” the lights flashed at an increasingly faster pace throughout the song, climaxing with a blinding flashing of light for the last 10 seconds which attempted to match Ladytron’s drummer’s sped up pace. Another very interesting thing about the show was the way vocals were used. When the lyrics were important, as they are in songs like “Soft Power,” one could easily understand them, but when the songs were more about a vibe, or a feeling, the vocals were used more as instruments.

The majority of the crowd stood transfixed during the entire set, with only a few patches of folks dancing. I thought this a little strange since Ladytron was pumping out music the people could at the very least sway to even if they didn’t feel they could dance. After an extended set Ladytron left the stage only to come back to play a few more hits including “Last One Standing” and “Seventeen.” “Seventeen” seemed incredibly appropriate on this particular night being that the show was a 16+ event so there were teenagers all over the place. I have to say, after seeing how things worked out in that environment the idea of the bright orange Over 21 bracelet gave me an idea, our driver’s licenses should be big Over 21 bracelets once we hit 21. This would eliminate the awkwardness of wondering how old people are when one approaches them. Call it a moment of brilliance (or lunacy) for yours truly.

Sightings: I met quite a few folks from Ryko, all of whom were very cool and extremely knowledgeable about music. Other than that the earplugs I wore, thanks to last week’s deafening Buckcherry experience, sort of cut me off from human contact.

Liks: Another work event at Irving Plaza, another tiny $2 bottle of water. I will say this for the waitresses at Irving Plaza, though, they work their butts off during shows to make sure everyone in the crowd has something to drink.

Verdict: Overall seeing Ladytron was a very different experience for me. I know when I my contact over at Ryko asked how I liked the show and I told her it was different she wondered if that was good or not. Well, I’m here to assure her, and everyone else reading, that different can be, and in this case certainly was, good. I enjoy being taken out of my element at times and that feeling that hit me at the start of the show, that Blade feeling, was very cool. If you have an open enough mind a new experience can lead you to a ton of interesting things. Ladytron was a new and difference experience for me and I enjoyed it. If you’re into the electronic trance-rock scene you should definitely see this group live, and even if it’s just something you’re used to hearing in movies you might want to go just to feel like you’re in a different world for a few hours.

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posted by Adam Bernard @ 8:24 AM  
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