Reduced to three members, the math rock band Battles still refuses to call it a day. As a matter of fact, they seem to be thriving after the departure of founder Tyondai Braxton. Which isn’t to say they’re the same band, only that they’ve adjusted admirably.
They’ve also thrived. Dave Konopka, the group’s bassist commented halfway through their headliner gig at the White Stage Sunday night that they never expected any such “honor,” but in any case, just being able to play Fuji at all was a privilege.
At their starting time coincided with the end of the Chili Peppers’ show. But as they added to their sound, gradually and eventually they presented their beat-heavy, angular rock style, people showed up, stayed, and rocked out accordingly.
It wasn’t necessarily easy to do. Battles’ music is tricky to the point of confounding. Generally, founder Ian Williams starts the process with a guitar or keyboard loop, and then Konopka adds to it with some bottom and top (he also plays guiitar). But as sonn as drummer John Stanier shows up ad starts pounding away, all bets are off. First of all, Stanier is such an imposing physical presence that the audience can’t help but sit up and take notice. He sits center stage, not in the back, pounding away for all to see.
Since it’s difficult to say where one Battles song ends and another begins, we can’t quite put our finger on anything that might be considered definitive. Nevertheless, since Tyodai left, there some openings, at least in the shipping dept. Who knows? It may end up being the perfect job.