Blaqk Audio @ The Grand Ballroom, NYC

Live Reviews | Sep 19th, 2007

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Whoever thought kids would be bringing glow sticks to see a show fronted by AFI’s Davey Havok? Yes, Davey Havok. The same genius behind the masterpieces “God Called in Sick Today” and “He Who Laughs Last…” was now attracting the sort of crows that would bring raver gear to a show? Apparently.

Upon entering the Hammerstein Ballroom, the crowd was whisked up seven floors in old fashioned elevators (the kind with that gate you have to pull across before moving anywhere) little by little to the Grand Ballroom. Is this venue a secret tucked high above the massive Hammerstein? Who even knew this room was up here? The Grand Ballroom opens up a whole new world of possibilities for NYC concerts. The room is not only beautiful, and about as big as Webster Hall, but the sound
was amazing too.

The crowd waited patiently for 10pm with an interlude of dance music blaring from the speakers. On stage there was nothing but two mic stands on either side with a keyboard, a Mac and some synth equipment all in front of a projector screen.

When Blaqk Audio triumphantly took the stage, the duo comprised of both Davey Havok and Jade Puget of AFI fame were sharply dressed in black… or blaqk. The crowd was laden with the rocker kids who are closet weekend clubbers along with the nouveaux emo kids who once proudly suffered through the mid 90’s rave scene. No one knew what to expect, yet everyone was genuinely excited to be there and exploded once Blaqk Audio launched into their first song, “Again x3” .

Davey powerfully commanded the stage, as he does with that other band of his. Only he seemed to interact with the crowd more for this show. Seeing AFI nowadays, you are met with a persona that rarely breaks the fourth wall on stage. The rock star in Blaqk Audio, however, talked and laughed with the crowd at least a little. He even caught some of the various objects like t-shirts and bracelets that were thrown his way. Davey’s confident, fluid motions gave the music such a strong presence and made all the difference for someone who might not have been into the album, but was able to fall in love with the live show.

Jade mostly kept to his synth fort, except for the instances in which he presumably put his equipment on auto pilot and stepped to the front of the stage to perform backing vocals. Jade who is used to having a guitar to limit him, looked a bit unsure of himself and nervous at times. It was only Blaqk Audio’s third show, he might just need a little time to adjust to the change. Overall though, the entire show was fantastic. More so than anyone would have expected. Given the duo’s sound, it is hard to imagine how the album will translate live,
but it was extremely well done.

Blaqk Audio played all but one song (The Fear of Being Found) off their debut album CexCells (maybe one thing this band needs to work on is their spelling). They also added a cover of Blur’s “Girls and Boys” to their set. Yes, Blur does that song. Yes, the same Blur who did the woo hooing “Song 2”. This particular song was the only disappointment of the evening. It sounded alright, but Jade sort of sung back up on this song, sort of because he only sporadically sang the words “girls” and “boys”. Aside from sounding weird, and not necessarily harmonic, Jade and Davey definitely had their dancing shoes on for this one. The performance for “Girls and Boys” was very Broadway. It seemed like their moves were choreographed, missing everything but the jazz hands, and it proved to be a little embarrassing. But, being the only sub par point of the show, it’s easy to overlook that one cover song and really love the rest of the performance. So what if kids were dancing with glow sticks? Everyone had a great time, including the band it seemed.


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