Warp’s 20th-Anniversary PartySeptember 7th, 2009
Battles/!!!/Flying Lotus/Pivot – Terminal 5 – September 4, 2009
In celebration of its 20th anniversary, the record label Warp, which brought you electronic bands like Aphex Twin and LFO, is hosting parties around the world. For the lone Warp20 event in North America, the label pulled out all the stops to showcase some of its best contemporary artists. Friday night’s show at Terminal 5—a small festival’s worth of music packed into six hours—was a testament to Warp’s longevity and eye for talent. Each act pushed the next to elevate its performance. Pivot’s U.S. debut was met with enthusiasm and excitement. But Flying Lotus’s set was a tour de force. With a laptop, sampler and mixer, he deftly navigated bass-driven beats with seamless transitions. The crowd relentlessly showered praise on him, and Flying Lotus, in turn, showed his appreciation by performing the only encore of the night.
!!! (pronounced: chk chk chk) followed with a high-energy performance that featured lead singer Nic Offer venturing into the crowd to boogie down. With a tight horn-and-percussion section, the band delivered its signature brand of dance-punk to a mosh-pit-motivated audience. The final act of the night, the experimental-rock group Battles, which burst onto the indie-music scene with its 2007 debut album, Mirrored, played its first North American date in 2009. The band’s highly anticipated show drew a packed crowd, including David Byrne. With a wall-of-sound amp set up, the group created an industrial stage aesthetic that complemented its unique approach of utilizing multiple electronic instruments and pedals. The set list included new songs (one of which featured a harmonic riff that compelled Byrne to dance reminiscent of his moves in the Talking Head’s Stop Making Sense) and favorites like the sprawling single “Atlas.” We can only hope that Warp hosts many more anniversary parties to come. —Jared Levy
Photos courtesy of Greg Notch | photography.notch.org/music