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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, October 7, 2011 - Volume 39 Issue 40
Ladytron creates shimmering wall of sound at The Showbox
Arts & Entertainment
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Ladytron creates shimmering wall of sound at The Showbox

by Jessica Price - SGN A&E Writer

Ladytron
September 29
The Showbox at the Market (Decibel Festival)


Seattle's Decibel Festival has just completed its eighth year, arguably the biggest and most ambitious yet. Focused on the most innovative in electronica, dance, experimental, and audio/visual arts, last year's festival brought a remarkable 18,000 music lovers, and with the addition of several new host venues this year (including Paramount Theatre, The Showbox at the Market, The Crocodile, and Fred Wildlife Refuge), the general feeling was definitely that this year broke records for attendance.

For those with a mild to passionate taste for electronic music, the festival runs the gamut from obscure to well- known. Moby, Designer Drugs, Green Velvet, and Amon Tobin were just a handful of the major headliners this year; another phenomenal showcase was Ladytron with an opening DJ set by Depressed Buttons at the The Showbox at the Market.

Many dance floor junkies will recall that pivotal part of the very early '00s when Ladytron first started pricking up ears with debut album 604's undeniably catchy, deliberately analog melodies 'Playgirl' and 'Paco!' (a singsong recital of the contents of a department store). However novel those songs were, Ladytron's real breakthrough came in 2005 with Witching Hour, the album that subsequently proved them to be a shockingly robust live force. It's nice to know that the essence of some artists doesn't change, even when the current album's atmospherics do.

Touring with a live drummer in support of new release Gravity the Seducer and recent greatest-hits collection Best of 00-10, Ladytron headlined the Decibel Festival's Thursday night Showbox showcase to a full room, despite the post-midnight start time. Vocalists Helen Marnie and Mira Aroyo remain as nonplussed as ever in person, pretty little ice princesses alongside bandmates Daniel Hunt and Reuben Wu.

Starting off with the coolly menacing 'Soft Power,' a pyramid of white lights and strobes framed the stage as Ladytron's expansive sound swept the room. 'International Dateline' layered their trademark pristine high vocals over a shimmering wall of sound. 'Ghosts' and 'High Rise' nodded to Velocifero and Witching Hour again (they saved their best, 'Destroy Everything You Touch,' for the encore), but the five mixed it up with a handful of softer, more downbeat new material.

'Ace of Hz' and 'White Elephant' held up well next to modern classics like 604's 'Discotraxx.' Ladytron's strong suit is bringing life to what sounds cool and impenetrable on their records, complete with a light show and live instrumentation to sweeten the pot.

It was apparent throughout the set just how many memorable songs Ladytron has written since their formation in Liverpool in 1999. They've ignored outside trends and updated their sound as they see fit with each release - like Ladytron through a different lens with each record. They show no signs of stopping, and their cult following both stateside and overseas remains eager as ever. The energetic 'greatest hits'-like set satisfied and left fans happy to go to work a bit light on sleep the next morning, even with eardrums still slightly buzzing.

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