Live Review: Brandt Brauer Frick at Red Palace, Washington DC – 28th October 2011

By on Thursday, 3rd November 2011 at 4:00 pm

Berlin-based ‘classical meets techno’ trio Brandt Brauer Frick appeared at Washington’s Red Palace on a crowded gig night; Anthony Gonzalez’s M83 was busy playing two sold out shows at the Black Cat (review of the early show here) and the Naked and Famous had sold out the 9:30 Club, a huge leap to the big time for the New Zealand band. So it’s kind of not surprising that this gig at Red Palace was, in comparison, sparsely attended.

The band were touring in support of their new album ‘Mr. Machine’, a collection of new songs and reworked versions of older ones from their debut album, ‘You Make Me Real’, released in 2010. What is special about this release on K!7 records: all the songs were recorded with the 10-piece Brandt Brauer Frick Ensemble, which unfortunately could not come out to America with the three Germans that give the band its name. No matter though. I’m not really sure how to adequately describe this gig except that you really had to be there to witness it. You might think that keyboards and electronic drum pads played alongside lots of buttons pressed and knobs twisted would be boring, but Brandt Brauer Frick made it refreshing. Like the Chemical Brothers, they preferred to segue from the end of a track into the start of the next one, instead of losing momentum by stopping.

While I was disappointed that they had a programmed button for the sound of a rainstick in ‘Bop’, the actual physicality of all three of the band members throwing their bodies into their instruments, particularly Paul Frick over his controls, was unbelievable. (You can read Frick’s responses to our Quickfire Questions here.) The most incredible moment of the night was near the end, when Daniel Brandt was hitting his drum sticks so fast over the air above his drum pads that you could see the 3-D images of the sticks moving, like you were viewing a slow motion film. While Brandt Brauer Frick might always be on the fringe of the mainstream, this is a unique band worth seeing.

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