What a night filled with hope! A certain elation was running under my skin. Liars, a magnificent band who has made left turn after pleasant musical left turn over the past seven years, were to play with out-of-nowhere sensation No Age, whose Weirdo Rippers was one of 2007's bigger surprises. I brought that excitement with me, right up to the ticket window of the Marquis Theater, but my excitement and I would have to wait, as both bands were delayed by weather, and the ticket lady was too consumed by an all-important text message conversation to actually do her extremely tough job of dispensing tickets.
Finally getting in, I decided to drink some of my impatience away and partook in something falsely advertised as a Happy Meal. Relaxed, I sat back and waited for No Age to sound check. After wasting 30 minutes of my life trying to figure out what microphone color to use, drummer/vocalist Dean Spunt thankfully decided on yellow and got the show up and running.
One of the great things about Weirdo Rippers is the playful intensity that the band brings to each song. Presumably that intensity must’ve been left on the highway outside of Denver as No Age fumbled through each song, without maintaining any of the charm of their debut. With guitarist Randy Randall standing waiting, Spunt took time out between each to refine his twee comedy act, completely blunting any of the momentum the duo may have had. I couldn’t help but think, if only the band just ripped through their set how awesome would they be? A question with no answer, I know, but it lingered with me the rest of the night. At best, No Age was a huge disappointment.
Liars have a track record for excellence charted by the four records they've recorded over the past seven years. Ignoring any convenient descriptions, Liars have continued to create music on their own terms. Taking the stage as a quartet this time, instead of the normal three-piece, Liars primarily showcased songs from their self-titled new record. Sadly, because of singer Angus Andrew’s back injury, the band wasn’t as animated as they have been at shows past. Though he did make every effort to inject energy into the set -- especially when the band reached back and played songs from They Were Wrong So We Drowned and Drums Not Dead -- Andrew’s absent energy drained some of the band's notable manic, paranoid, sound. While still good, Liars were unfortunately reduced to a scaled-back version that left me wishing I could’ve gone back to the beginning of the night to ratchet down my initial excitement. -- Jeremy Brashaw
Critic’s Notebook Personal Bias: I get this feeling that No Age would be a great band to see at a house party, much like the Liars were when I first saw them. Random Detail: Both Spunt and Randall were in the Los Angeles hardcore band Wives. Spunt also runs PPM! records, which has put out music by Wives, Mika Miko, and John Wiese By the Way: Don’t ever have the Happy Meal at the Marquis Theater.