"April 16, 2010"

Liars - April 16, 2010

First Unitarian Church, Philadelphia, PA, USA

How do you get Philadelphians to do something? Easy: offer them a challenge. And if you really want to rile them up, mention to the City of Brotherly Love that the city to the north, in whose shadow we live, has already done it. "There was crowd surfing last night in New York. Just saying...," offered Liars' Samuel Bing half way through the band's show. (Bing was also in opening band Fol Chen.) Sure enough, within seconds a concertgoer in the front of the house was lifted up, albeit briefly, in the basement of the First Unitarian Church in Philadelphia.

Liars' brain, Angus Andrew, led the band's charge. The Friday night crowd was ready to party and tracks like "Scarecrows On A Killer Slant" provided just the fuel, getting them jumping and chanting along. Andrew himself was clearly feeling it, furiously head banging to the music. Relying heavily on their drum machine to carry them, Liars weaved a number of more quiet, less in your face tracks into the set which saw varying degrees of success: "We Fenced Other Gardens With The Bones Of Our Own" could be mesmerizing and eventually brought crowd chants of "We're doomed! We're doomed!" Elsewhere the quick ravers provided a completely different feeling than on the records: the band's eerie intensity on record was traded in for high energy in concert.

Liars on record and Liars live in concert are two very different sides of the same beast. But live, with the feel good party atmosphere, some of the band's severe sounds and conceptual ideas seem to get lost in crackling speakers and a sea of jumping hipsters.