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May 2008 concert: Ladytron at the Showbox

Last Saturday night I went to see Ladytron at The Showbox. Ladytron seem to like having contrasting opening acts with upbeat party attitudes; on the last tour they had CSS, this time opening for them was Datarock.

Datarock are the duo of Fredrik Saroea (lead vocals, guitar) and Ket-ill (bass, backing vocals); they appeared with two backing musicians, one on drums and one handling at times guitar, backing vocals, sax, keyboard, and drumpad. They played an energetic set blending '70s-style punk and groovy classic rock - despite their name, they aren't a math rock band at all. I thought their sound was a bit rough and the vocals in particular could have been more tuneful, but they were still fun to hear and watch. They closed with an extended version of their current single "Fa Fa Fa", which I've been hearing and enjoying on KEXP, and despite some roughness in the earlier songs their live performance made me think I should pay more attention to Datarock in the future.

Ladytron are the quartet of Helen Marnie, Mira Aroyo, Daniel Hunt, and Reuben Wu, all four of whom play keyboards and synths, with Marnie and Aroyo sharing vocals. As on their last tour, they were joined by a pair of backing musicians on bass and drums. Unlike the last tour, from the start this show felt more open, less cold and forbidding, more electro and less goth. The band also seemed a little more talkative, mentioning a few times that they were happy to be back in Seattle. The set had a fairly even mix of songs from their three previous albums and their newest release, Velocifero. Also unlike the last time, the show felt a bit laid back, even sedate, lacking both the initial dark intensity and enthusiastic build-up to the finale. Once again they finished their show with "Destroy Everything You Touch", but it sounded a bit cluttered and rough, not crisp and polished like last time. I enjoyed the show overall, but missed the intensity and enthusiasm that made their previous show one of my favorites for 2006 (matched by Goldfrapp). Still, if they happen to come through Seattle a second time this year, as they did on their last tour, I wouldn't pass up the opportunity to see them again.

Datarock photos begin here and Ladytron photos begin here. As usual, the photos of the opening band are better because I was able to get closer to the stage.



Next month I'm excited that Annuals are coming back to town, playing at Neumos on Tuesday June 10. They're not headlining this show (Times New Viking are) so it won't be a long set with an encore, but still it'll be great to see them again. Also playing June 10 are The Ting Tings, at Chop Suey; I've been enjoying their songs "Great DJ" and "That's Not My Name" on KEXP, so I'd like to see them, but Annuals take precedence. On Wednesday June 11, I'll be going with my friend Farida to see Sam Phillips playing at Borders Books & Music in Redmond. Besides those shows, I'll keep an eye out for anything else interesting turning up.


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