Arriving at the Magic Stick, I found most of the audience sitting on the floor in the middle of the venue surrounding a large spread of electronic objects, most of which were unidentifiable. Two people, making noises into microphones seemed to be in charge, and they were also seated. The crowd pulled on ropes and moved around the objects, modulating the dense textures of the sound. There was a rug, something called Make A Baby. This was Lucky Dragons.
Describing the sound of Lucky Dragons is a challenge; it would be better to listen to their Myspace. But their live show was different than their uploads. Gone are the gentle melodies that fade in and out of electronic nonsense, these are replaced with audience-produced layers of rhythmic elements. In the past, I’ve found audience-participation to be poorly executed during live shows, it either comes out as patronizing or agonizing. But Lucky Dragons have found a way to make it interesting and authentic, figuratively and literally feeding off the energy of the people in the room.
No Age took the stage with surprising rapidity, which I suppose makes sense given how simple their setup was: drums + guitar + some homie standing to the side of the stage to play pre-recorded sounds and mix their live sound. Compared to the sound of their records, they sounded astoundingly similar, except with more energy and less fi. You know, fi as in low fi. This congruity between their live and recorded sound was at once reassuring – hey, they’re honest on their records – and disappointing – they’re not mega-arena-rock stars. Not to say they weren’t good live, but they didn’t blow me away. I’m sure that had this been my first exposure to No Age, I would have been inspired enough to buy their record, but as it was I felt merely whelmed. Not over- or under- whelmed, just whelmed.
The heaviness of their fast-paced, short songs lent to some intense audience reactions. The small but energetic crowd pulled off a decent mosh pit (which now that I think of it, seems to happen at just about every Magic Stick show). I tried to get my friend to join me in jumping around and body-slamming, but he immediately got punched in the face. Sorry, bro. It happens.
One thing to be said for No Age, is that they seem like really nice dudes. They counted down their last few songs, didn’t make the audience wait for the encore, then immediately after finishing went and sat on the edge of the stage to meet the fans. Overall, a great night with great company. Good vibes, guys, good vibes.