[5 November 2009]
Upon ascending the stairs at DC9 Wednesday night, I was greeted by a haze of digital chirps and static. Growing, a three-piece noise outfit from Brooklyn, had already launched into their set and I couldn’t make heads or tails of what I was hearing. Order did start to emerge from the chaos, however, as I discerned a method to the madness. Using two guitars, an army of effects pedals and countless sequencers, drum machines and synths, the band built up and tore down a series of warped, disorienting sound collages, underpinned by harsh, driving beats. It felt like the ideal appetizer for what was to come: a set full of epic melodies constructed from bits of digital detritus. I’m talking about Fuck Buttons. The group ably lived up to their reputation for captivating, visceral live shows. They opened, appropriately enough, with their latest single, “Surf Solar,” a ten-minute epic that finds buzzsaw guitars and battery-powered crescendos riding atop a massive, club-friendly beat. Throughout the night, the band toed the line between accessibility and inscrutability, making sure to temper big melodic gestures with blasts of atonal noise. Regardless, the crowd was hooked from the first song until the set’s abrupt end, at which point the two band members, who hadn’t uttered a word all night, simply packed up their gear and walked off as if nothing had ever happened.