Athlete at the Detroit Bar Last Night

Athlete
Athlete
Andrew Youssef/OC Weekly

Athlete
June 20, 2010
Detroit Bar, Costa Mesa

Watch our slideshow here!

The Hype: Making their first ever appearance in Orange County, London's Athlete stopped by the Detroit Bar in support of their latest album, Black Swan. Anglophile indie rock enthusiasts everywhere would have their credentials revoked if they didn't attend this show. Along with Elbow and Doves, Athlete have found stateside popularity elusive, yet garner lots of attention in their homeland playing much larger venues.

Athlete at the Detroit Bar Last Night
Andrew Youssef/OC Weekly

The Show: Most shows at Detroit Bar do not include roadies and bands that provide their own sound engineer. While this may seem silly for such a small venue, it is a very good sign for the audience--the opening notes of "El Salvador" sounded perfect. Tim Wanstall switched back and forth between his Moog Voyager and Prophet '08 keyboard adding layers of sound to "Superhuman Touch."


Joel Pott is a natural frontman, slashing at his guitar while pouring his emotions into each and every lyric that he sings. A buzzy bass line carved through the house speakers as a foot tapping beat dispensed by drummer Stephen Roberts had the crowd swaying during "Hurricane." The alternating of quiet and loud verses of "Magical Mistakes" were just as catchy as anything Coldplay ever released.

Pott delicately strummed acoustic laden chords of "Black Swan Song" with all three members of the band helping him on background vocals which is something you don't see often. Venturing back to their album Tourist,  "Twenty Four Hours" had a mix of yearning guitars and bouncing piano lines that are the backbone of Brit pop. Keeping with the Tourist theme, "Half Light" made me understand why the album went number one in the UK.

Asking the crowd to put down their cameras, Pott asked the crowd to clap and sing along to "Wild Wolves." Ironically, "The Getaway" was the final song of their main set, which had Pott jokingly step off the stage for a second and hop back on to start their "encore." After a quiet rendition of "Rubik's Cube," the small but extremely appreciative crowd cheered when they heard the beginning of Athlete's most popular song, "Wires."  Unlike Supergrass who recently disbanded, let's hope Athlete has the stamina to stay in the game. 
Carney opened for Athlete
Carney opened for Athlete
Andrew Youssef/OC Weekly

Carney opened the evening with a mix of bluesy alternative rock, and they played like they were the headliner, piecing together a solid 45-minute set including a cover of the Beatles' "She's So Heavy." Zane Carney had a small treasure trove of guitar pedals that had him tonally switching from Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead to Jimmy Page. "Testify" closed out their set with a furious drum solo. 


The Crowd: An even amount of fans for each band halfway filled the Detroit Bar. If the show was on Saturday, it probably could have sold out easily.

By The Way: Athlete performed on KCRW this morning and their live session will be archived later if you visit their website KCRW.com.  

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