Concert review: Ladytron w/ the Presets @ the Metro, April 21
I walked into the sold-out Metro just as the opening band was beginning their set. I wasn’t expecting much from a band I knew absolutely nothing about, but I was pleasantly surprised by the Presets, an Australian electro-goth duo clearly influenced by Joy Division/New Order; it’s the type of stuff the Faint has been trying to do and succeeding at only on occasion. The singer’s Flock of Seagulls haircut, excessively tight jeans and ill-fitting t-shirt made for quite the spectacle as he thrived around the stage, occasionally pushing buttons on the electronic equipment that littered the floor. Meanwhile, the drummer kept the pace alongside a booming bass that ripped through my insides for 45 minutes straight. Further research revealed that this band has a debut album coming out this month, which would definitely be worth looking into. After a short break, Ladytron's four disgustingly beautiful band members came on stage joined by an additional drummer and bassist and proceeded to play almost robotically. This fit their robo-sound very well and was pretty much exactly how I would have expected them to play, though it did get boring at times. I wouldn’t be surprised if frontwomen Mira and Helena were actually fembots (fembots sporting very weird priest/nun-like clothing that only people in bands can pull off), and watching them perform made me wonder if their home country of Bulgaria is actually a land of gorgeous, fair-skinned, dark-haired androids. Thankfully, the band broke the image in time for the encore, when they began to show a bit of emotion and get the audience involved with some dancing, handclapping, and an extended electronic jam of "Seventeen," by far the most exciting moment of the night. Ladytron's set leaned heavily on songs from their latest album, The Witching Hour, including highlights "Destroy Everything You Touch," "Sugar" and "The International Dateline,“ while still managing to please the crowd with older hits like "He Took Her to a Movie," "Playgirl" and the aforementioned "Seventeen." For the first half of the show, it seemed the audience wasn’t sure whether or not it was possible to dance to Ladytron’s methodical electronica, as heads bobbed and feet shuffled nervously. Eventually, as the beer flowed and the end of the set approached, all pretenses fell to the wayside as people began pushing up to the front of the stage to flail wildly in my personal space, completely out of sync with the music. The Metro’s recent (and otherwise welcome) switch to a smoke-free environment revealed its sole flaw: no cigarette smell to cover up the sweaty BO scent. Blech. See more pictures from the concert at the RFC live concert photo archive.