So far in their short career, New York quartet Lip Critic have played on bills alongside rappers, hardcore bands and dance acts. On none of those lineups did this remarkable new band feel out of place. In recent months, they have been making a name as a raucous live act in the States, and arrive for their debut UK show at east London’s The Waiting Room amid a whirlwind of hype.
Having recently signed to Partisan Records (IDLES, PJ Harvey, Fontaines D.C.), the band clearly have a point to prove. Tonight (November 16), dual drummers Danny Eberle and Ilan Natter perform on opposite sides of the stage, while samplers Connor Kleitz and Bret Kaser are hunched over a table whipping up a barely contained storm of electronics. Immediate comparisons to Death Grips can be made in Lip Critic’s raw and rough sound, but there’s the theatricality of modern post-punk to be found here, as well as the thrust of contemporary dance music.
The band’s first Partisan single, ‘It’s The Magic’, feels like a dance anthem and a hardcore song squished together into the same track. They debut more new material, all of which proves to be just as intoxicating; standout ‘The Heart’ is a pulsating rush of energy defined by its bass-heavy melody.
Often, the drawback of other heavy outfits is an element of self-seriousness. What sets Lip Critic apart from their peers is a commitment to delivering humour and lightness even amongst songs that sound like they’ve been dredged up from the depths of hell. Kleitz often gestures his hands towards his sampler like he’s casting a spell on it without playing a note. Later, he leads himself and the crowd through some heavy breathing exercises while his bandmates whip up dissonant chaos behind him. “Come on,” he mouths to them, as if to say: I know this is all pretty intense, but we’ll get through it together.
Then there’s Kaser, a livewire of a performer who punches speakers, dives into the crowd and, at one point, parts the audience to do a crab dance around the venue. Towards the end of the show, he and drummer Eberle swap roles during a breakdown, with Kaser then thrashing away on the drums while Eberle proves himself an equally magnetic frontman.
Crucially, both Lip Critic’s music and their live show is nigh on impossible to quantify. They often feel like three or four bands rolled into one; the fervid hardcore thrashers, the hip-shaking dance heads, the sardonic post-punks – and beyond.
Lip Critic played:
‘6 Foot Tongue’
‘How Could You Do This To Me/Why Would You Do This To Me’
‘In The Wawa (Convinced I Am God)’
‘It’s The Magic’
‘Entry Level Stud’