Trip-rock monoliths Avey Tare's Slasher Flicks, Tobacco and Atlas Sound played a visceral and heady show at the NYC Downtown Fest at Webster Hall Saturday night. The line-up also included Vacationer, Computer Magic and MAS YSA.
The crowd ranged from all shades of hip. Yet there was a surprising lack of attendance for the brilliant side-projects from Deerhunter, Black Moth Super Rainbow and Animal Collective.
Tobacco's hard hitting beats, entrancing melodies and fascinating visuals fueled a powerful and atmospheric set. Bizarre clips ranged from b-movie alien pornography, men making-out in slow motion and someone aggressively eating a burrito. The musicians were modestly and mysterious dressed in black hoodies almost fully pulled over their faces.
Tobacco played favorites from all of their albums like "Heavy Makeup" from Manic Meat to "Father Sister Bezerker" off their latest, Ultima II Massage. When the set ended, the drummer and DJ immediately took down their small banner and table without a word. A lack of engagement from musicians at live shows can come off as dismissive and boring but the level of engagement Tobacco's music inherently created balanced in the performance.
If Tobacco's set was like alien fellatio, Atlas Sound - side project from Deerhunter's, Bradford Cox's set was like getting digested by an extraterrestrial. Cox casually began by saying, "This is going to be a kind of greatest hits night, cheers. You're all going to hate me by the end of the night." The introduction song, "Sheila" covered the audience in an airy and intricate wave. An electronic setup instead of the AS guitar and drums – it fit seamlessly into the line up and had intently emotional moments, but some were lost in a blanket of synth.
Avey Tare's Slasher Flick's took the stage last with a solid and danceable performance. Creature horror movies were projected onto white frames that enshrouded the stage. The band played through their first album Enter the Slasher House getting an energetic response from the crowd. Avery Tare drove a perfect combination of hazy, synth-drowned moving melodies.