Following an opening performance by Brooklyn-based electronic musician Pictureplane – who warmed up the head-bangers and drove show-goers from the couches and bathrooms to the dance floor – HEALTH took the stage like it was a sold out auditorium on a Friday night. The noisemakers opened their set hard with a shock of multi-patterned… well… noise.
The Biltmore’s plush red lounge couches allowed show-goers to gear up before and between sets as lively conversations sent people into their own separate groups. The call back to the stage was some simple synth chords, and would-be moshers threw themselves back into the mix. HEALTH’s performance of “New Coke” – the music video for which features the band members puking in slow motion – really pushed the band from impressive sound shock value into a catchy melodic feel. “Life is good,” sang vocalist Jacob Duzsik.
“Do you even know how fucking good you are?!” a man clad in a HEALTH shirt clutching a PBR bellowed at the stage. Drummer Benjamin Jared Miller dropped the X-shape his sticks had been posed in above his head into another frenzy of calculated chaos. Mosh pits and crowd surfing ladies arose not solely to build up the physical energy but also because onlookers seemed genuinely carried away with the sheer power of the music being thrown aggressively against the walls of the modest venue.
HEALTH was all about the music and rarely stopped between songs to comment to the audience. This gave the impression of the four members being lost in their own songs, which added to each track’s polished delivery. It was “Stonefist” that really got the audience whipping their hair like bassist John Famiglietti, its hard electronic interludes woven together with Duzsik’s words, “We both know love’s not in our hearts.”
HEALTH’s recent melodic departure from their previous more punk based albums really gave the show a dance feel, with many of their newer songs emulating disco beats. The synth-infused youth anthem “Life” shows how contradictory HEALTH’s style can be: discussing the pain and aimlessness of life while pairing it with a light pop melody. But throughout the group’s ten years together and their involvement with different musical styles, it’s the manic mixture of textured synths and artful percussion gives their sound such a unique balance. “L.A. Looks” drove Death Magic‘s tone home with the line, “It’s not love, but I still want you,” lyrics that the audience was more than happy to sing along to.
After already saying goodnight Duzsik took back to the mic, agreeing to the audience’s “one last song” pleads. The band geared up with some of the same intro-riffs they had thrown in throughout the performance, and than abruptly ended. Show-goers laughed and cheered, accepting that the night was over.