No Reason to Fear Avey Tare’s Slasher Flicks at The Bowery Ballroom

April 22nd, 2014

Avey Tare’s Slasher Flicks – The Bowery Ballroom – April, 21, 2014

(Photo: Jeremy Ross)

(Photo: Jeremy Ross)

With a band name like Avey Tare’s Slasher Flicks, you’d figure the music would be weird and spooky. And what do you know, their sold-out show last night at The Bowery Ballroom was indeed just that. The spookiness was mostly provided by the stage setup, which included oversized skulls, like leftover Halloween decorations. These were lit with colorful projections to a somewhat trippy effect while the band remained cloaked in the dark shadows between them, virtually invisible to the crowd. The weird was provided by the music, played by Tare (Dave Portner), from Animal Collective, on guitar and vocals, Angel Deradoorian, formerly of Dirty Projectors, on keyboards and vocals, and Jeremy Hyman, formerly of Ponytail, on drums. The set list was mainly comprised of material from the trio’s lone album, Enter the Slasher House—songs that combine the aesthetics of the member’s musical roots.

As the set began, the music seemed to resist melody altogether, feeling almost like a collage of sounds and lyrics. With Deradoorian and Portner pushing the boundary between an almost doo-wop-y pop and free-form psychedelic, it was Hyman who became the focus, his drumming added to the chaos while controlling it and reining it in. Eventually, the show found its groove without sacrificing its quirky, rotated feel. The Billy Joel–on-acid sound made way for a Blondie-cracked-open-and-scrambled disco feel, with Deradoorian filling in with pulsing basslines on her synthesizer. It was like your eyes getting acclimated to the dark, finally seeing the details of the musicians lurking between the skulls and hearing the music they made for what it was. And as it turns out, the Slasher Flicks are nothing to be afraid of. —A. Stein