Too often these days, indie-rock bands that are wild live, don’t sound that good on record. Acts like Black Lips may get the crowd to go nuts at their shows (QRO review), but their garage-rock on record is nothing special (QRO album review). It kind of leaves you wondering how the band first got the crowd to go nuts, back before they were a photo pit’s worst nightmare. But to see how a wild band should be building, take a look at Brooklyn’s own Electric Tickle Machine – who are both good live and on record. Hewing more to the seventies psych-rock than fifties garage-rock (less Lips, more MGMT – QRO live review), their soon-to-be-released Blew It Again debut is far better than you’d think that a band this wild on stage would be.
It was a little tough for ETM on Saturday, July 25th, as they were playing a Brooklyn venue so new it also doesn’t have a name yet (used to be Supreme Trading Co., was ArtLog House during Northside Festival – QRO recap) at 213 N 8th St., but does have a great location, just one block north of the Bedford Ave. stop in Brooklyn that is ground zero for all things hipster. However, the entrance was hard to find, a totally non-descript door, and once you went in, you were greeted by a loud dance party of a few people. Only after heading to the back, and especially to the outdoor space to the back right (wedged between various buildings, like the inner well of an apartment complex), could you relax a little more. The stage at the front wasn’t perfect, not great lighting, and ETM were only able to start about an hour after they were originally supposed to – though this didn’t push them into the wee hours of the morning: show time was bumped from 3:00 PM to 4:00 PM. And it can be hard to rock, indoors in the afternoon.
Not that the band didn’t give it their all – but Electric Tickle Machine seem to always give it their all, and that’s quite a lot. Whether playing at a sparsely populated new, no-name venue on a Saturday afternoon, or at a sparsely populated big place late at night for a poorly-promoted event at a poorly-organized festival (i.e., their appearance at Europa – QRO venue review – for KEXP Showcase during Northside Festival – note: only two times have seen them; sure they play to thicker crowds), ETM kick it, right from the start with “Blew It Again” and “Bones”, to closing it out with “Honest Injun”. Of special note has to be their percussionist, who spends as much time on the stage floor as possible (and once atop some speakers), revving up the crowd – unfortunately, those on Saturday seemed a little fancy, hipster-reticent to really rock out (needed more of the keyboardist’s girlfriend, who did a great job in the crowd at Europa during Northside, on her boyfriend’s birthday – QRO Northside Day Two recap). But the band’s motto live seems to be, “Never let them see you not sweat”…
Playing dates all over New York (this was the band’s third that week), Electric Tickle Machine are making a name for themselves from their shows. And once you hear their record, you’ll want to know them even more.