Live Review

Klaxons, Bowery Ballroom, NYC

Despite the ups and downs of the show, Klaxons are capable of great showmanship.

When the Klaxons come out, they come out swinging. It’s odd to use a sports metaphor to describe a band that walks the line between dance music and rock and roll while spouting sci-fi references, but the old adage seems true.

The moment the band take the stage the strobe lights erupts and the bass begins to jump. One can almost feel the anticipation peak, sparkle, and crack through the air. Yet, as ‘Flashover’ passes the three-minute mark an unidentifiable emptiness seems to hover between the band and the crowd. Klaxons are still willing to start a dance party but their fan’s enthusiasm stumbles.

The disconnect between performer and audience seems to be a question of familiarity for as the second song begins, the people begin to literally jump for joy. ‘As Above So Below’ drops much of the doom of the first, reigns in the strobes, and replaces a martial beat with something more akin to disco.

‘Gravity’s Rainbow’ destroys most of the remaining reticence held by slow to warm attendees. With the “come with me, come with me” refrain that could be grabbed from any pop song from the past, almost petulant insistence, and a thoroughly sticky melody, the song couldn’t be denied as crowd favorite of the evening.

The next song of the set begins to stray further from the dance floor and closer to a more abrasive tonality. Though it’s hard to begrudge a band their science fiction interests, Klaxon’s songs are stronger when they used their JG Ballard interests as a foil for their outright pop sensibilities, not as the foundation of their songs.

After ‘Venusia’ (darker) and ‘Golden Skans’ (dancier), and in the middle of ‘Twin Flames’ the lighting technician at Bowery Ballroom commits a fatal mistake. He damn near turns on the lights. By dropping the multi-colored lights and disco ball effects, and bathing the entire room in yellow, Klaxons were brought into the sunlight - a place no true science fiction fan belongs. The sudden influx of warm light is a poor fit for Klaxons’ music no matter the song.

However, the band recover wonderfully on the following song. With a verse-chorus song structure building to a bridge ready to blow the roof of the ballroom, they play the audience perfectly. After the second verse-chorus round, just as the audience is ready to break out, the band came to a dead stop - silence and blackness reigns. Instead of losing the audience, the interruption just builds the tension until releasing into an incredibly blown out bridge. The delayed gratification and splendid payoff show that despite the ups and downs of the show, Klaxons are capable of great showmanship.

Tags: Klaxons, Features

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