29 Sep 2016: Market Hotel Brooklyn, NY
Are there HEALTH-heads out there? You know, like the Dead-heads of elder generations who followed their beloved band around the country from gig to gig, noting every minute change in the set list or experience? I haven’t reached this kind of HEALTH-head status just yet, but I have seen the industrial electro noise rock outfit four times (and counting) over the past twelve months. So I might be just at stalker status. Maybe they have begun to recognize my shaggy face, my slightly yellow teeth, my dangerous tendency to toss my elbows around with abandon, amidst the darkened club crowds…
I’m going to assume “probably not,” but who knows? This is the second time I’ve written about the metaphorical addiction my ears have for HEALTH, and we all know showering a band with affection is the sure-fire way to their hearts. (That and supplying them with lots of Twinkies. Musicians love Twinkies.)
This time, I had the pleasure of checking out HEALTH at Bushwick’s delightful Market Hotel, an intimate 2nd floor industrial club with a living backdrop of clattering trains; the band’s blinding light show attracting plenty of peeping-Tom eyeballs from the subway platform mere feet outside the building. The concert, a showcase put together by PopGun, also included rising noise-aficionados Yvette and Dreamcrusher.
I was pretty surprised to even hear HEALTH were still touring behind Death Magic, their excellent third studio album that was released about a year and a half ago, but didn’t mind in the slightest that the show was nearly identical to the ones I had seen multiple times already.
Epic drum barrages bashing everyone in the face? Check. A nonstop stream of thunderous music? Check. Bassist John Famiglietti tossing his gorgeous black locks around like a hurricane? An exuberant audience destroying its vocal chords in its desire to properly bless the band? Members of the crowd seemingly spending more time surfing above their fellow fans than on their two feet? Check, check, check.
Racing through prime Death Magic singles like “STONEFIST” and “NEW COKE” as well as previous album favorites like Get Color’s “Die Slow”, their self-titled debut’s “Crimewave”, and the sole original cut from their DISCO2 remix album, “USA Boys”, the setlist shouldn’t have come as a surprise to any of the HEALTH fans in attendance (most of which seemed like they had seen the band in concert already), and it didn’t matter anyway. We’re coming to see HEALTH for the experience, for the kind of intense musical attack that leaves one needing a stiff drink and maybe even a change in underwear.
And if they decide to tour for yet another year behind one of my favorite albums of 2015, well, you can bet I’ll be in the center of the fray once again, ready to sacrifice my body to the thunder emanating from onstage.