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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.