Yesterday at NX35: HEALTH at The Boiler Room

Venue: The Boiler Room
Time: 11:55 p.m.

Some 15 minutes before HEALTH lunched into what would be the most visceral--and, without a doubt, the most visually stimulating performance at NX35 2010 so far--the packed house inside the Boiler Room showed its hand. Whereas the crowd loudly offered up its approval for the high-energy earlier performances from locals PVC Street Gang and Record Hop, the room, for the most part, remained somewhat distant.

Literally: There was a good five feet of floor space between the audience and stage during these shows.

But even as the members of Los Angeles' electro/industrial/noise act milled about the stage simply setting up its gear, things changed. The crowds pushed right against HEALTH's would-be performance space. And so the stage was set (pun intended) for HEALTH 45-minute domination of Denton. The band too was ready: Earlier in the night, as Record Hop wrapped up its set, HEALTH vocalist Jake Duzsik stood in the back of the room, marveling at the crowd. It was a far cry from the two dozen or so attendees that caught the band's last performance in the region, at The Lounge on Elm Street in Dallas. "Yeah, this is a little better," Duzsik said with a laugh. "That last show was weird."

This one, however, was only weird where it was intended to be. The band members thrashed about spastically and in chorus as they performed material largely culled from the band's 2009 release, GET COLOR. As the band members took timing cues from the drummer they all constantly kept an eye upon, they offered up a loud, all-out display of distorted electronic-based ear-candy--and a high energy performance, too. At the end of the band's 35-minute main set, the band members stood on stage, looking like they'd just completed a half-marathon, hunched over, huffing and puffing for air and wiping the sweat from their brows.

But when the drummer walked away from his kit, his fellow band members pushed him back in place. Though clearly physically spent, the band played on for another ten minutes with a brief, three-song encore.

Upon its completion, the crowd roared with overwhelming approval. All the hype--and there was plenty leading up to this show--had been met. Surpassed, even.

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Pete Freedman
Contact: Pete Freedman