Liars have been on a long and restless journey as a band deep into experimental territory. Once a group that fit more into the niche of dance-punk, they’ve long abandoned their guitars in favor of turntables. This era’s Liars are a flavor of cultish electronica, which is how they first caught my eye. They’re a totally fitting act for a Sunday evening live at Le Poisson Rouge.
Unfortunately, there was a bit of bad blood before the show even went on. Opener Doldrums were the victims of robbery and forced into cancelling last minute; they themselves being replacements for Lower Dens left Liars unsupported. It’s also worth a mention that this concert happened at LPR only after a late venue change from Brooklyn’s Masonic Temple. It seems many of us were the victims of circumstance and fate this evening.
Liars is a trio, playing with an electronic drum kit, vocals and samples. Occasionally a bass would be used by one of the members, putting some other part on autopilot. On point tonight were the strobe lighting and intricately patterned visuals employed, which did well at setting the mood and highlighting the urgency conveyed in their music.
My favorite visual trick employed would have to be lead singer Angus Andrew’s use of lidar technology (See this Radiohead video for an example). The device projects based on distance, in this case it was focused on his head, which was always moving to the beat, an ingenious and subtle crowd motivator. I was kept enraptured despite a lack of familiarity, always a good feat for a band to pull off.