I WAS THERE . . . Late of the Pier @ Bowery Ballroom, 4.1.09

They may be young, but Late of the Pier will surprise you. Photo by Ear Farm

My first thought when seeing Late of the Pier take the stage at The Bowery Ballroom on April 1st was, “They’re just a bunch of kids!” This was no April Fool’s Day joke though. They may be young but they exhibit the confidence and professionalism of a far more experienced act. Late of the Pier have actually been playing and releasing singles in their native England for a few years now but have yet to really break through in the U.S. market. I think this may change soon, based on my experience with them at the show. They have all the right elements: a charismatic frontman, a technically proficient bassist, a human-metronome on the drums, and a spazzy synth player who showed us the proper way to dance to each song. Songs like “The Bears are Coming” and “Focker” were the biggest highlights of the night. When these electro-anthems hit, the audience couldn’t help but dance in spite of their insecurities. Surely Late of the Pier are already masters of this electronic dance-rock. With no less than three members playing synthesizers (often at the same time), the band came up with a wide array of blips and bleeps and really cool keyboard sounds. What sets them apart from other club related acts however is that they are also a good rock band. Though these moments were few, they could bash out a real nice racket on their guitars if the moment called for it. The bassist gave his instrument an almost prog-like working over and the drummer, while able to seamlessly replicate drill beats, proved why its better to have someone with a pulse holding down the rhythms.

Openers The Whip were a perfectly decent warm-up act. Their sound owes more to House music than Late of the Piers’ but the crowd still liked it. Watching them, I started to feel like what I imagine it was like at Tony Wilson’s Hacienda in the 80’s, you know, minus the drugs. They gave a good performance but it was clear why they weren’t the headliners. Late of the Pier truly has the potential for great success, and the youth to build it on.

Jonathan Zuckerman

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