Five thoughts on Liars's invgorating performance at A&R Music Bar last Saturday:
(1) New album "WIXIW" was composed and recorded entirely with software, and the thought crossed my mind during the band's second song Saturday night: I think I can roll with Liars as an "Amnesiac" tribute band. And I could if I had to because "WIXIW" is another compelling record in a career full of them. But I don't have to because Liars still opted to fray our senses with aggressively physical music too.
(2) And let's face it: Though they set a disturbingly eerie mood exceptionally well, this band is it its best when blasting you in the face. And whether they do it by relatively conventional means (arch rocker "Plaster Casts of Everything") or something outright weird ( the transcendent "Let's Not Wrestle Mt. Heart Attack"), it's always a thrilling experience.
(3) What a strange place to see Liars. I prefer A&R Music Bar over its downstairs neighbor The Basement because it has a nice patio and you can actually see the stage. But I still felt like I should be watching some Dave Matthews wannabe in there.
(4) Not sure when Liars started rocking suits and ties at their shows, but it certainly adds to their whole "ominous" thing.
(5) This band's evolution has always felt somewhat jagged on record, but with the unified sights and sounds of a concert it's easier to trace a smooth line through their discography. While the synth-driven selections from their new album didn't hit as hard as some of the night's rowdier selections, it all felt like a unified body of work from one of the best bands in the world. Even the disco-punk drums of their "finger on the pulse of America" era reared their head in later material, though certainly none of the music from that debut album made the cut. Maybe someday they'll bust out something from "They Threw Us All In a Trench and Stuck a Monument On Top" just like their pals Radiohead eventually cracked and performed "Creep" again. But just like with Radiohead, we aren't really missing out when Liars decide to skip over their first album. In many ways, this band just keeps getting better.