Three Shows, One Weekend: Nobody Beats The Drum 333″ Reviewed by Elektro
The band may be called Nobody Beats the Drum, but its members certainly keep busy during their live shows – the Dutch dance trio delivers an electrifying mix of hard-hitting music and visual art, offering audiences a fully immersive experience.
The trio introduced some next-level tech at the 2011 Amsterdam Dance Event: the 333” TeleNovem Automaton, featuring nine video screen panels with three projectors reflecting light and video off three mirrors hidden behind the screens. The entire hypnotizing device spans 333 inches in diameter, yet manages to fold into a single suitcase. With DJ/producers Sjam Sjamsoedin and Jori Collignon on the decks and Rogier van der Zwaag controlling the visual experience, a NBTD show is an unquestionably unique experience.
However, Elektro was lucky enough to witness the band in action three
times in one weekend – a fitting tribute to their 333” setup – including a Friday night show at Webster Hall, a Silent Disco set at Governors Ball and a headline gig at Brooklyn Bowl. Each show was distinctively thrilling and a different experience each time.
NBTD tore up Webster Hall on Friday night, despite playing for a roomful of people who probably didn’t know about the band. Positioned in the middle of the night’s lineup, each of the three artists were utterly different from one another, but surprisingly meshed quite well. The Knocks went on first, playing a DJ set that infused songs from many genres like “Love Shack” remixed into an unexpected grimy-sounding beat.
They captured the attention of the entire crowd with a beautiful ballad of Deadmau5′s “The Veldt,” as well as other favorites like Chuckie’s
remix of “1234,” their vocally-driven “Midnight City” cover and their new remix of Santigold’s “The Keepers.”
Nobody Beats the Drum began their set around 12:45, as a synth transition melted into “Natural Thing.” It felt very much like a dark electric symphony, but each song was perfectly visualized onscreen – the best way to describe it is watching sound. The set was a high-intensity fusion of hard bass and powerful synths for a very deep electro sound. It’s very Justice meets Daft Punk – that’s the level at which NBTD operates.
The crowd marveled at the creepy visuals during “Blood On My Hands:” blood appearing to ooze from and then down the screens as a woman in silhouette toyed with a butcher knife. (As the music kept building, so did her temper). “Show Your Shades” is one that you have to see live to fully experience the beauty of the track. Flashes of white light darted across the crowd, coupled with an explosion of sound –it was like getting caught in the middle of a beautiful lightening storm.
After NBTD finished their set, headlining act Bag Raiders put on an awesome set that was a bit brighter in sound. The Australian DJ duo easily ranks among the most entertaining to watch on stage; Jack Glass and Chris Stracey were raging as hard as the audienc. They played a variety of songs not typically heard in current live sets, like Daft Punk’s “Face To Face” and Cassius’ “Toop Toop.” We also heard an interesting sample of tribal tracks that sent the crowd into a frenzy. Bag Raiders delivered an energetic, fun-filled set that doubtlessly earned the Elektro stamp of approval.
On to Governors Ball, where NBTD surprised the crowd with a “silent disco.” Rather than blasting music through the usual speakers, headphones were passed out, making for an intriguing experiment in concert-going… especially for the Elektro crew, who were unable to grab headphones before entering the tend. So, sadly, we can’t tell you what was played but seeing people dance to what outwardly seems like silence is a very cool and hilarious experience.
The Brooklyn Bowl drew a decent crowd, but was a lot less packed than Webster – only the true night owls made it out for NBTD’s 1:45 am set time. After playing two sets not long before, the guys still managed to bring their infectious energy to the Bowl. It was impossible to resist jumping along with them.
While the Webster show and the Brooklyn Bowl show both had a very similar set list and array of visual projections, we had a very different up close at the Bowl, as opposed to our balcony vantage point at Webster – both were great fun, but prepare to have your eyes and ears melted if you find yourself head-on with the 333” beast. At Brooklyn Bowl, NBTD played mostly their own music from Currents, as well tracks like “Girls Suck” off Beats Work. One favorite was their performance of “Poisson Vert,” which takes fans through a very vivid, almost electried forest. The other visual interpretations were just as stunning, with an amazing harmony between sound and video. Having seen Nobody Beats the Drum three times over the course of a weekend, we can confidently say that they’re a group worth following; the combination of artfully produced tracks and captivating visuals will surely land them even more tour dates to come.
See NBTD and witness the madness at the remaining tour dates:
June 30th – Electric Forest Festival, Rothbury MI
July 1st – Electric Forest Festival, Rothbury MI
July 4th – Wrong Bar, Toronto ON (Bassmentality Weekly)
July 5th – Montreal International Jazz Festival, Montreal QC (Les Nuits Heineken)
July 11th – Quebec City Summer Fest, Quebec City QC (w/ Skrillex)
July 13th – Camp Bisco, Albany NY
Sept 28/29 – Counterpoint Festival in Atlanta GA