Effi Briest: the power of three 

So a seven-woman psych troupe, a bunch of electro-jam band dudes and um, Celebration walk into the Bowery Ballroom… SUCH a punch line, right? Effi Briest and Celebration playing a show together, well sure; they have the same management, after all, and they both throw a lush battery of organic instruments at their causes. But Holy Fuck thrown right in the middle, like a twisted, digital stick thrown in that organic tumult was a refreshing booking.

I’d caught Effi Briest in the past and unfortunately, I arrived late for their set, but it seemed pretty clear that while the band’s been around for a while, the short months since I’d seen them last had allowed for a noticeable tightening of their two-percussionist attack and a better articulation of their extremely dense sound (that, along with a traditional rock lineup, includes at various times an accordion, a violin, an acoustic, and effects pedal manipulations).

Holy Fuck: electro fire 

In a recent interview with Holy Fuck (to be published here soon), the band discussed their intention to achieve a more structured, tightly bound live set in an effort to sustain audience attention. While I did notice that certain sequenced drum cues and oscillating synth loops were acting as turning points and moments of dynamic climax, (perhaps more precise ones than other times that I’d caught the act), these guys are still essentially an electronic jam band. The structure remains loose and the rhythm section, while incredibly tight, constantly push at spontaneity while their drummer looks constantly on the brink of tears.

Celebration’s Katrina Ford

Celebration’s new album The Modern Tribe probably deserved more attention than it ultimately got, but there’s no question that it doesn’t stand up to their live act, which on Wednesday included a horn section and auxiliary percussion. The amusing counterpoint of Sean Antanaitis’ back turned from the audience, focused intently on his b-3-Wurlitzer-Mellotron concoction and Katrina Ford’s confident stage-crossing presence and strident voice might be the center-piece of this band, but, as with the better tracks on the album, it was the sum of a thick palette of unpretentious parts; no showing off for the trumpet or the sax, they were often sidelined to hand claps and three note harmonies and to other subtle touches.--Jeremy Krinsley/photos by Jeremy Krinsley