It’s been one month since I watched the stage crew for Direct TV’s SXSW Bat Bar single handedly tear apart Late of the Pier, oh, and then watch them get the plug pulled on them after three songs at their day show. Needless to say I was more then ready to watch the real thing after the teasers in Austin.
The crowd is ready and aggressive not to lose their hard earned spot up close to the stage which only stands a few feet taller then us. Sequin covered, they emerge from house right. Smiles to me are a good thing; they are ready and so am I. It began with the anticipant groove of bodies ready to sweat and dance. I am glad that Popscene redid the AC, it helped to keep the ladies at that perfect sweaty sexy level and not cross that fine line of “oh, she nasty”. I stared to watch the show lined up with Jack Paradise he plays the synth or as their MySpace describes: electronic battle tappin’. I think that does him justice.
Jack’s androgynous mannerisms kill me, and kind of turn me on. His lower jaw extends well beyond his upper, giving everyone up front a great view of the pearly white on the bottom as his upper lip conceals the tops; His shoulders swing rhythmically back and forward. He wants me I know it! His eyes are either looking into the crowd or flipped far back into his head. It’s great, he has such a hypnotizing way of playing those beat pads with one and in the air as the other taps, then the reverse.
Sam Eastgate, the lead singer, keeps coming over to check up on levels and what not. I know that Sam is a perfectionist. I know he knows when something is off. He comes across as an obvious labor of love. He’s attentive to the noises coming out of the loop, amps, and synth. You can tell he is always thinking one step ahead of the beat. Yet he’s elegant in his conduction of the technical working that is taking place and attains a sort of omnipresent stage presence.
I see several different crew members scurrying around the tiny Popscene stage, fixing this or that. It’s really obvious there are so many different layers to their live performances. I respect their decision to keep the idea of playing live pure, too many bands take the easy route and just play to a pro tools track or pop open their fifth member, and I mean their Mac Book. The Apple logo is becoming as common on stage as Marshall or Gibson. Sam explained to me after the show that he doesn’t take this route because he thinks of his music as a living breathing work. It grows as you play it and take it where it wants you to take it. Having a computer making things easier constricts you to play what the computer knows how to play.
I have heard many people make reference to how Late of the Pier is not tight enough and there is a lot of legitimacy to that, they are a bit off at times, but I really think that this is what makes them so great. Everyone strives to be invincible and yeah this is what everyone works to achieve, but so few do; not to make excuses for mediocrity but to identify that what’s going on is great and needs to be recognized for what it is not what you think it should be. This is the way music should be perceived as, a living, breathing, sweating, imperfect machine this is constantly evolving and for Late of the Pier’s case a passion for perfection that we are all invited to enjoy!
I look forward to seeing them again. They are without a doubt a band that has assembled a great offering of style, attitude and skill. There live shows present something different every time: a guessing game of antics and originality bringing new light to songs that are overplayed on my iPhone.
I would like to thank Aaron at Popscene for giving permission to photograph the show.