Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Maladroids at VAC

Posted By on Wed, Sep 8, 2010 at 3:05 PM

The Maladroids at VAC
  • Josh Gross
  • The Maladroids at VAC
From the moment The Maladroids' drummer began warming up it was clear that there was an unusually high level of musicianship on display. His strikes were precise, moving around the whole set with intention rather than the ADD chaos of swinging a drumstick at something shiny. I was already excited. Even more so that they were a two-piece as such bands seem to arise from musical pairings in which the members can read and understand each other so well that there isn't room for anyone else.

And after they started playing it was obvious The Maladroids are definitely such a band.

The heavily distorted bass riffs were as precise and technical as the drumming, moving the songs forward and never stagnating, making The Maladroids the kind of hardcore that can transcend the genre. Too often hardcore hides behind a wall of noise, assuming that because it's loud and angry, nothing else really has to go into it. But good hardcore comes from it being good music just the same as any other genre. Both The Maladroids' chops and their ability to read off one another sets them apart. Especially as they managed to avoid the other hardcore cliche of absurd complexity, getting bogged down in 96/3 time signatures that switch tempo every seven beats. Instead, they offered tight riffs, tight songs and some wicked double-kick; think Songs to Fan the Flames of Discontent-era Refused.

But even more than their style, the thing that was great about The Maladroids was their level of comfort on stage. They played off one another, offering mid-song jokes and asides, both instrumental and vocal, and knew how to move with their instruments as well as how to let the instruments move them. They easily offered more energy on-stage than any local band I've seen in months.

That's not to say the show was without flaw. In the midst of all that awesomeness there was a giant sonic hole. The power-trio endures because it is a perfect balance of the essential ingredients and it fails when one dominates the others. Though The Maladroids' songs, riffs and delivery all worked, they didn't sound like a two-piece band. They sounded like a three-piece down one member.

I've been told they often play with a keyboard as well, which I'd love to see, as it could round their sound out. But even sans keys, The Maladroids are worth checking out for their energy alone. They'll definitely be on my agenda for Promenade next month.

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