I've been a fan of Liars for the better part of a decade, since discovering their first long-play They Threw Us All in a Trench... in 2002. Having never seen them live, I had few preconceived notions as to what I would expect to see Friday night at the Magic Stick.
What I got was well worth the wait.
Touring behind their latest release, WIXIW, the Brooklyn trio brought along another three piece, Portland's Unknown Mortal Orchestra to open the show. I had heard some buzz surrounding this band but wasn't familiar with their material. UMO played with energy and refinement, whipping the crowd around with a sort of experimental no-wave blues pop. It was at times both ambient and chaotic, creating a presence bigger than the band itself,
which was a great appetizer for somewhat enigmatic Liars.
Taking the stage one at a time, frontman Angus Andrew punctuated the procession and set an intimidating profile against a sparsely lit stage. The band opened with "The Exact Colour of Doubt," the opener on the new record. It was a hauntingly beautiful intro to what be one of the most sonically violent shows i've been privy to. The set was heavily based on new material with a few older tracks interspersed. Current single "Number 1 Against The Rush" was another highlight amongst a macramé weave of pulsing beats laid under layers of synths, guitars and manipulated vocals. The crowd was in it to win it and was dancing and jumping as the setlist careened to a crescendo.
The encore of Broken Witch and Plaster Casts of Everything was every bit as blistering as the first set and seemed to bring the night full circle with a number of couples making out all around the room.