When the band appeared on stage the air in the room was thick with reservation. Some people were surprised by the new crew, some expressed doubts. But with the new members in place, already with a minimal amount of touring together behind them, chemistry is brewing. They’re obviously still getting used to each other, and still in a nascent stage of development. But last night’s set showed off a raw, noisier side of Balkans than anything the old regime would have allowed. The group reveled in psychedelia punctuated by epic breakdowns steeped in tension, resonance and texture, while the stylized pop jitters that once drove Balkans' sound took on an abrasive hue.
Kaiser brings precision to the guitar parts — he’s Shortridge’s cousin so he’s already got at least a little bit of DNA working in his favor here. He didn't draw too much attention to himself and didn't even really make eye contact with the audience while focusing on his his parts.
Bailey had a slightly more awkward presence on stage. He’s an integral part of the group’s new direction, and definitely a focal point of the show. Last night he nailed the songs while adding his own element of raw naïvety to it all. His drumming has more in common with the Stooges’ primal urges than the Strokes’ urbane pop restraints, the latter of which has been a comparison that the group just couldn’t shake, at least not until now.
Balkans are set to begin recording their second full-length this fall/winter, and although last night's show offered just a glimpse at how much things have changed for the group, and although no one will say how permanent this lineup will be, there's a lot of potential here.
Epilogue: Deerhunter’s Bradford Cox donned his Joey Ramone costume and joined the band on stage to close the show with a couple of Ramones covers — “I Wanna Be Well” and “I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend” (the latter was a dedication to Shortridge’s GF who was there celebrating her birthday). He’s pretty good with the whole Joey Ramone thing; he’s got the stance, the sunglassed leer, the snarling hiccups, crooning and all.
ooooohhhh, I'm so excited!! I can't wait to see them together!
come on man you know you got a bromance. you probably still rock that OutKast…
Yes, 14 is the correct answer. I'll pass your info along to the group's manager,…
That was January of 2007, and they are 21 now, so I'm guessing 14?