Big Black Delta at Club Nokia, Los Angeles, CA, January 13th, 2011 | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Big Black Delta

Big Black Delta at Club Nokia, Los Angeles, CA, January 13th, 2012

Jan 14, 2012 Big Black Delta
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Jonathan Bates is crazy. This, as it turns out, might be the best thing possible for his career. As Big Black Delta, Bates performs accompanied by two attractive female drummers, a self-made lighting rig that throws his jerky movements into silhouette, and enough moxy to fill a venue the size of Club Nokia several times over. And then, there’s the crazy. Inhibition? The Ex-Mellowdrone leadman has never heard the word. His jumping, skittering, and dancing across the stage seems to be driven by an internal logic all its own—not unlike a latter-day Ziggy Stardust. Turned up to 11.

Musically, Bates’ experimentations are significantly more interesting than a large chunk of newbie electro acts—splitting the difference between sound sketches, ambient meandering, and dance tracks whose sole purpose is inspire wild gyrations in about 360 directions at the same time.

Opening for M83, Bates and his team worked through the bulk of Big Black Delta’s quasi self-titled debut, BBDLP1. A muscled-up show (hard-hitting tracks such set-opener “The Zebrah,” “Capsize” and “ifuckingloveyou” demand a certain amount of bad-assery), the performance was not without its share of style and sophistication. Bates slowed it down for the ambient wash of “BP3,” and transformed sweet guitar ditty “Dreary Moon” into a sensuous electro-love song, inviting M83’s Morgan Kibby on stage for a dance and a playful duet. There was even a sincere cover of INXS’ “Never Tear us Apart”—amped-up to a dense, electro-wall of noise. A seemingly kitschy move for most other bands, Bates and co. was too busy having fun to provide the audience with any self-aware winks. Big Black Delta is the rare band with the talent to pull off just about anything, and the sheer self-abandonment to solider through and do it. Don’t try to put Bates and co. in a box—they’ll dance their way right out of.

Read our “Pleased to Meet You” interview with Big Black Delta.



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james cruze
February 20th 2012

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