The Band in Heaven
Propaganda, Lake Worth
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Male-female duos are easy to like. Tuesday night at Propaganda, the Band in Heaven, now based in West Palm Beach, and husband-wife team making up the Lagues shook the stage with two styles of noisy rock. Small bands require chemistry, and in both cases the bands invited the audience into their world by staying close to the front of the stage, bantering frequently, and playing songs that couldn't help but get a reaction.
Although billed as a duo in promotional material, the Band in Heaven played three strong. As our dedicated writer Monica Uszerowicz pointed out yesterday, this is "foggy, fuzzy stuff recalling both outer space and My Bloody Valentine." Singer/guitarist Ates
Isildak used a contraption hooked up to his guitar that made it sound like an organ was backing him every step of the way. With the echo on the microphones turned up high, the vocals mostly got lost in the reverberations, but a muddied "ooh," when done with the right amount of sensitivity, can still pull at those shoegaze heartstrings.
darkwave post-punk and slow-building, hypnotic chord crunches are the
Band in Heaven's two speeds. When it came to their trademark cover of
the Cranberries' "Dreams," Isildak and backup vocalist/tambourine player
Lauren Dwyer were spirited -- aside from the bass drum thuds, the song
is almost entirely a new, brooding beast. The key will be to stretch
that intensity throughout the rest of the set into their own material.
Orlando's Lagues, made up of guitarist Owen Nicolas and wife Denise Moberley on bass, add a high stage-presence quotient by using their legs to handle their percussion. "That's what our name refers to," the long-haired Nicolas told me after their set, which doesn't explain the word's creative spelling, but ZZ Top probably won't mind. Moberley had a hi-hat cymbal set to stomp on, and Nicolas handled the kickdrum half of the beats with his feet and added a drumstick that he alternately used to bash a cymbal and the strings of his guitar on "Holy Spirit," a little slice of Link Wray stashed in their set of knuckle-length songs.
This all-limb approach toughened up Lagues already sinister dirty garage rock, and Nicolas wasn't afraid to hammer home the point with some sour utterances ("You ain't shit") and a frustrated "What have you done for me?" in a song we think was called "God, a Façade." The pair, who also play
in the Sexcapades and D. and the Sluts, took a stab at a vulnerable close, and when Nicolas sang that he's "not fucking around" and that they're "not gonna drown," it was comforting to see his wife there to hear it.