Live Review: Battles, Making

15 February 2016 | 2:51 pm | Bryget Chrisfield

"'Atlas' is the aural equivalent of peaking after double dropping."

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Making are more severe than My Disco's Severe, with constantly shifting time signatures and impossible-to-dance-to beats that would be pretty difficult to replicate. God help them if a band member gets sick and they need to find a last-minute replacement!

Cheers welcome guitarist Dave Konopka who enters stage left and starts looping while chewing gum. Further cheers welcome the arrival of Ian Williams, who takes his position behind a set of keyboards that are slanted backwards on 45-degree angles, stage right. To complete the equation, drummer John Stanier enters, the crowd roars and, yes, he can reach that ridiculously high cymbal with his extra-long Mr Tickle arm. Battles always pack a melodic punch within the artiness; humans with the precision of robots that somehow also manage to inject emotion into their playing. Williams directs the flow of a small floor fan towards him. It's baking in here! The snappers probably get more than their designated three songs in the pit, because Battles flow so seamlessly from one track into the next that it's difficult to work out how many they've played.

We're not sure how Konopka still manages to chew that gum with a plectrum in his mouth. The band's non-verbal communication up there is next-level. Williams, sporting chef pants, adjusts that floor fan once again. Konopka says that although the band is here for the Laneway tour "and that's great... The real moments are the moments right here... We just wanna let you know that we love you" — Right back atcha! The timing's so intricate that Williams and Konopka glue their eyeballs to each other's frets. At one point Stanier holds sleigh bells in one hand, a brush in the other while also obliterating his kick drum. When Williams pulls a goofy face and dances like Mr Squiggle we know he's in the zone. He has a daggy green string eyeglass lanyard holding specs in place while his hands tumble across keys, as nimble as sprinting tarantulas. Battles finish their main set with Atlas and, man! It's so fun tossing your hair 'round to this song. If your mate tried to crack a chat during this song, you'd probably terminate the friendship on the spot since Atlas is the aural equivalent of peaking after double dropping.

Before their encore, Williams tells us Battles have written two songs about Australia to date and we're suitably chuffed. We get one more chance to dance and then our heroes leave the stage in reverse order as if on rewind: Stanier, Williams and, lastly, Konopka. And those attending Laneway Festival tomorrow receive a reminder as to why Battles should always be prioritised. 

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