Liars at Mad Planet
Twelve years in, Liars have done everything but repeat themselves. On Wednesday night, the Brooklyn band shook the room at Mad Planet.
For the last decade, Liars have done everything but repeat themselves musically. They’ve flirted with everything from dance punk to noise rock, and the Brooklyn band’s 2012 full length WIXIW continues on in this fashion, at times sounding something like a warped re-imagination of the cold and sterile electronics found on Kid A.
With a back catalogue of six stylistically varied full lengths, Liars’ live sets are no doubt going to reflect that diversity. Their Mad Planet appearance this past Wednesday was no exception. Every song was unmistakably Liars, with a strong emphasis on noise, rhythm and insane amounts of low-end, shaking the entire room into submission. The last time they came through town, Liars played to a relatively small crowd at Turner Hall Ballroom. The decision to move the show to a smaller and more intimate venue couldn’t have been a better move. The acoustics and overall aesthetic of the venue was a much more appropriate setting.
It seems as though everything the band has created over the years could be viewed as a mutilated re-construction of something familiar. This isn’t to misinterpret the band’s output as derivative, though, as there are very few (if any) bands around that sound quite like Liars. WIXIW features everything from minimal Brian Eno-esque sounds to dance-floor ready tracks that sound something like the Butthole Surfers making disco. All of these tracks translated quite well into a live setting, with sharp synth lines and boomy kicks pulsing through the speakers.
The band managed to cover a good amount of ground, and while the set was primarily made up of songs from the new album, their back catalogue didn’t go ignored. Selections from their brilliantly hypnotic 2006 album Drum’s Not Dead were well received, the band hammering out the repetitive tribal rhythms across the stage. “Plaster Casts of Everything,” the opening track off of their 2007 self-titled album ended the evening on an incredibly high note, increasing the energy of the room from two to ten in a matter of seconds. Audience members thrashed about, sort of rushed the stage and just generally “brought the rowdy.”
Twelve years after the fact, the question remains: Will Liars eventually settle into a style? They’ve been able to keep things interesting enough for six albums that I think they’ve got a grasp on it. So even when they come through town in support of their brand new adult contemporary record, I’ll take comfort in knowing that a) it will probably be the weirdest adult contemporary record ever made and b) it will make for a really killer live show.