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Intense is the most fitting description for HEALTH, the groovy electro-noise band from Los Angeles.  The incredible aural assault started the moment they took to the stage Thursday night at Santos Party House, generating a hailstorm of guitars, synths and samples spiked with wicked effects and danceable beats.  Adding to the band’s signature sound of rhythmic noise was the onslaught of percussion featuring Benjamin Jared Miller’s ferocious drumming behind the kit, as well as an additional tom drum played alternately by bassist John Famiglietti and guitarist/keyboardist Jupiter Keyes.  Singer/guitarist Jake Duzsik’s delicate vocals drifted above it all, though there were moments of screaming here and there. 

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With all of the band members’ frenetic energy on full display, HEALTH was entertaining to watch as well, especially Famiglietti’s madcap dance moves.  Being familiar already with HEALTH’s music, I don’t know why I was caught off guard with the mosh pit in the audience that started with the third song and lasted pretty much until the end of the set, but that made the experience all the more memorable.  Songs included the awesome “Die Slow” and “We Are Water,” from the 2009 album Get Color (Lovepump United), their hit “Crimewave,” from the 2007 self-titled debut, as well as the sexy new song “USA Boys” (which has an equally sexy video that was recently censored by YouTube).

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The late set time (1:45 AM) did not seem to dissuade the devoted from sticking around for headliners Midnight Juggernauts, and the band made it certainly worthwhile for all those who did. With Vincent Vendetta on lead vocals and keyboards, Andy Szekeres on bass and Daniel Stricker on drums (and both on backing vocals as well), the Australian trio displayed incredible energy and showmanship as they dazzled the hard-partying crowd with genre-bending electro tunes that bare influences from new wave and prog to pop and dance. 

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Midnight Juggernauts’ magnificent set drew evenly from the 2007 album, Dystopia, and the recently released The Crystal Axis, both on the band’s own label, Siberia Records.  Included were new songs “Winds of Fortune,” “Vital Signs” and the spacey, psychedelic “This New Technology,” the latter with more of a 1970s prog-pop meets 1980s new wave feel (think ELO and OMD).  And to the delight of older fans, the band performed a few crowd favorites including their breakthrough dance hit “Shadows,” with its funky bass and disco beat, and rocked out on “So Many Frequencies.”  The Daft Punk-esque “Tombstone” saw Szekeres and Vendetta trading instruments, with Szekeres also assuming lead vocals (with the vocoder), and ended with a fierce drum solo from Stricker.  The band closed with another new song, the very catchy “Lara Versus the Savage Pack,” after which Stricker’s cymbal stand went flying toward the front of the stage. –Teresa Sampson, Photos by Teresa Sampson