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CMJ 09 - Atlas Sound and Broadcast

Just around 8 o' clock, we headed over to Brooklyn to catch Atlas Sound w/Broadcast and the guys that opened for them.

Selmanaries (the aforementioned "guys.") underwhelmed.  But that may have been a keenly planned trap orchestrated by Broadcast.  Here's the setup.

So there you are feeling underwhelmed after those "guys."  All of a sudden, the heavy beats and noise rock starts, accompanied by a trippy-as-hell abstract video installation mind-game thing.

I gotta be honest.  My first thought was along the lines of "what the fuck?"  and my second thought was to flee for my life.  The second thought was supported by the earth-shaking bass.  I abandoned my friends Maura and Ali and headed to the my safety zone - the men's room.  Are you kidding?  The bass was not only earth-shaking, but also below-the-earth-toilet shaking.  Shit, these Broadcast kids are powerful.  I returned to the show and enjoyed the band and their video which may have been outtakes from the tape in The Ring.  I was convinced I was being brainwashed.  Broadcast finished, and my paranoia aside, were pretty impressive.

Enter Bradford Cox, in what was one of the strangest and most engrossing shows I have witnessed.  He started off by tearing into some tracks off Logos, before taking a quick banter break.  I had this feeling like I was witnessing something special; he is a very sincere performer.  That's easy to appreciate these days.  My favorite track from the new album, "Walkabout" got a fascinating treatment: slowed-down, folk-tinged, and equally impressive as the studio version, I was completely invested in the show at this point. The thing is, it's not unique for me to be invested in a show.  It happens all the time.

But that's where Cox really started to set himself apart.  I'll make it quick, but reread a couple of time for effect.  After starting a Velvet Underground cover that was "worth the wait" (there had been some time between songs), he promptly stopped the band, suggesting that that were off key.  He proceeded to take requests from the audience; some Atlas Sound songs (c'mon people), Rock Around the Clock, The Monster Mash (he almost played this, but claimed to have forgotten the tab sheet for it).  Here, he made iconic rock poses for pictures, played the intro to "Hattie Carroll" and basically used a couple songs' worth of time to hone his standup routine.  Honestly, it was pretty damn funny and a unique break from music.  He finished his set (which included the complete VU song), but the five-minute comedy break still sticks out as a memorable and enjoyable part of the show.

The set was really strong, and very different from a Deerhunter set (he is Deerhunter's frontman if you didn't know.)  There was some folky stuff (harmonica included!), some psychy stuff, some noisy stuff, but it all put a new face on a familiar figure.  He also wasn't wearing a dress tonight.

The whole time, all I could think is:  Bradford Cox is almost a genius.  He's the nerdy best friend you would think was a genius if you hadn't seen them behave under the slight influence of alcohol.

I'll get some pictures of him up tomorrow.