Ultraísta at The Echoplex in Echo Park, CA, October 20th, 2012
Nigel Godrich-lead band Ultraísta took the stage at the Echoplex on Friday night to cheers. “We haven't even played a note yet,” joked Godrich. “We might be terrible. We hope we’re not.”
Spoiler: They weren’t terrible.
A new band with an old soul, each member of Ultraísta has already acquitted themselves with other projects. Singer Laura Bettinson is a staple of the London scene with her previous projects FEMME and Dimbleby & Capper. Drummer Joey Waronker has backed the likes of Elliott Smith, Beck, and R.E.M. Godrich has produced some band called Radiohead. (You might have heard of them.)
The experience shows. Their U.S. live debut may have only been eight songs long, but the band imbued each album cut with an air of nonchalant cool. With the atmospheric consistency of their self-titled debut, and the help of some Piet Mondrian-like backing videos, the show was not unlike an art rave. It was an ideal manifestation of their art movement namesake that asserted surreal variations on minimalism are superior to more ornate styles.
Bettinson proved to be a dynamic frontwoman, sampling her vocals in real time until they became an art-rock cloud of abstraction, and dancing in some impressively lofty platform shoes. Although she was ostensibly the center of attention, anyone who claims they didn’t sneak a peek at Godrich’s behind the spotlight bass/keys work is lying.
Also of note: throughout the performance the sound was flawless—a perfect balance between the three members at a volume comfortably south of the threshold of pain. Guess there are benefits of having a producer as part of the band. Edit: A special tip of the hat to sound engineer Mikko Gordon for his work at the show. May all our favorite bands be so lucky.
1. Bad Insect
2. Golden Dayzz
3. Small Talk
4. Our Song
5. Wash it Over
6. Static Light
7. Strange Formula
Upcoming Live Dates:
10/22 – San Francisco, CA @ Independent
10/24 – New York, NY @ Le Poisson Rouge