July 25, 2007
By Jonah Flicker
If you haven’t yet experienced the phenomenon of people walk-dancing, apparently the best place to witness this is at a Rapture show. Here’s how it goes down: guy in awfully tight pants and girl in white one-piece from the ‘80s enter bar area, dancing while they walk. No, they can’t wait to find a stationary position to begin their spastic maneuvers. It’s the Rapture, for Christ’s sake. If nothing else, this is a dance band, albeit one with all the requisite rock band clichés and poses (guitar up, big smile to the crowd… and solo!).
Photos by Jonah Flicker
This is also an incredibly tight band comprised of musicians whose skills become much more evident onstage than on record. They also surprisingly, refreshingly have an air of normal-guy dorkiness about them. But it’s a snake swallowing its own tail: they’re so uncool that it’s cool, which is kind of uncool, which is ironically cool, and so on and so forth.
Make no mistake, from the mid-tempo grooves of “Get Myself Into It,” to “Sister Savior’s” stabbing rock, to the signature cowbell of “House of Jealous Lovers,” which brought the house down, the Rapture were firmly in command of the crowd at the Mayan. Guitarist Luke Jenner and bassist Mattie Safer traded off vocals song for song. This ain’t exactly a Joe Strummer/Mick Jones tag-team, as both take a similarly high-pitched road (personally, I lean towards Jenner’s extreme upper register). With a general populist attitude and Gabriel Andruzzi performing his funky sax and keyboard gimp-dance the whole night long, the Rapture were clearly in favor of the club atmosphere that prevailed. That’s why it made perfect sense to end the night with an older song, “Olio,” with its techno beats and swirling acid bassline. With a showman’s flair, Jenner and Safer left the stage first, allowing the throbbing pulse to end the night, a gesture of subtle humility from a band that seems to thrive on moving the crowd.
LA’s own Foreign Born started things off, kind of an odd selection for the lucky spot of opening band. Matt Popieluch’s reedy voice flits over a bed of fairly standard indie rock derived from a slightly dour ‘80s background. The band truly hit their zone during some engaging instrumental build-ups and a rollicking ‘60s-style tune that brought the pace up a bit. Foreign Born seems to already be going places, as they have a new record coming out next month on Steve Aoki’s Dim Mak, but they truly set themselves apart when they perk up and pick their guitars with just a bit more energy.
– Jonah Flicker