Mount Kimbie - Bowery Ballroom - 5/30/13
Aaron Frank Mount Kimbie
Better than: A Sound Tribe Sector 9 show.
Electronic music fans know all too well that converting friends to the genre can be a difficult task. For some, emotion will just never translate through a sampler or drum machine the way it does through a guitar and vocals. Countless groups have tried to bridge this gap in the past, but none quite as well as Mount Kimbie on their latest album, Cold Spring Fault Less Youth, out this week on Warp Records.
Tired of the limitations of a mostly electronic setup, the London-based duo has expanded their reach with the album by incorporating a range of rock and experimental influences and a significant amount of live instrumentation. To make sure the songs translate in a live setting, they've even added a drummer, which is probably the last thing you'd expect for a group that used to only play dance clubs.
The fans that Mount Kimbie acquired with their widely praised debut are clearly along for the ride, but their latest single "Made To Stray" has only added to the flurry of interest surrounding the group. Last night at the Bowery Ballroom, the first stop on their North American tour, several attendees expressed their desire to hear the song before the band had even reached the stage. Luckily, their two opening acts, Vinyl Williams and Holy Other, were more than enough to hold the crowd's attention.
LA psych prodigies Vinyl Williams started off the evening with a heavy set of lush distorted guitar melodies in the vein of My Bloody Valentine. Though they've only been together for two years, this young band is talented, refined and extremely-well rehearsed. Fronted by guitarist and singer Lionel Williams, the band played a tremendous half-hour set that left the small crowd of only 40 to 50 people awestruck.
Psych riffs with hints of post-punk droned through the Bowery's brilliant speaker setup as members switched off instruments and put every last bit of energy into their performance. Young bands often feel as if they have nothing to prove, but Vinyl Williams make certain that you get what you paid for. One wonders how a psych-rock band would fare as openers for an electronic act, but the crowd -- a strange mix of models, computer programmers and bloggers -- was very much on board.
The second opener, Holy Other, was a bit more divisive. After releasing two albums full of atmospheric head-nodders, the mysterious UK producer has ditched his mask, but still performs in total darkness, with the exception of a strobe light and some striking projections. His bass heavy catalog sounded exceptional in a live setting, but the lack of originality in terms of remixing and improvisation came at a cost. "Touch" was one of the only tracks that differed significantly from the album version, instigating several lulls that just made the show feel like a rave for depressives.