Battles at the Glass House Last Night

Andrew Youssef/OC Weekly
October 16th, 2011
Glass House
Pomona was a hotbed of activity on Sunday night as Battles headlined the Glass House while Foster the People sold out the Fox Theater across the street. In a perfect world, Battles should have been headlining the Fox Theater as they engineered a mind blowing set while on tour in support of their sophomore album Gloss Drop.

Andrew Youssef/OC Weekly
John Stanier
John Stanier's yellow drum kit was front and center with its trademark extended cymbal floating high above. Stanier was closely flanked by Ian Williams and Dave Konopka. The setup of the band members on stage gave off the essence of claustrophobia which at times matches their cacophony of sounds that each member creates.

Williams deftly alternated between two keyboards and his guitar for the nervous panic of "Africastle," his head swivelling as he looked at each keyboard on his right and left while tapping out notes on his guitar with one hand. The unique thing about seeing Battles is that every show is different, since they set up their loop-based songs on the fly and improvise in the midst of the show.

Two LCD screens were placed behind Stanier as a video of Kazu Makino of Blonde Redhead popped up as they tore into "Sweetie & Shag." The furious tribal thump of "Atlas" was intoxicating as one couldn't help but nod along to the propulsive beat as Williams triggered the sample of Tyondai Braxton's alien vocals.

Andrew Youssef/OC Weekly
Ian Williams sporting a caterpillar on his face
Emulating the sound of a laser gun blast, Williams soon morphed his guitar sound into a scratching noise as Konopka grabbed a bass while the video screens showed Matias Aguayo singing along for "Ice Cream." "My Machines" ventured into a mashup of industrial metal and soaring '80s synthesizers backed by a guest video spot on vocals by Gary Numan.

Andrew Youssef/OC Weekly
Dave Konopka
"Inchworm" crawled into your skull with its stuttering electronic drums and whirlwind keyboards. A timely named "Wall Street" played out like a demented song you would hear during a ride at Willy Wonka's chocolate factory. Battles definitely conquered the Glass House.

Nisennenmondai hailing from Japan impressed with their instrumental set of noise that was fueled by their drummer. Cgak is a side project of Chris Tgakis of RX Bandits who fused together his own instrumental set sampling such unique props as a Duff beer can and a glass of wine.

Personal Bias: I would have paid money just to watch John Stanier drum by himself.

Crowd: Guitar nerds, drum heads and mostly musicians who appreciate the complexity of Battles.

Random Notebook Dump: I regret not buying a Battles signed poster which featured a rendering of all the gear they use on stage.

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