Fun Fun Fun Live Shot: The Bots
Just east of high noon, sibling duo sizzles
By Greg Beets,
9:30AM, Mon. Nov. 10, 2014
The only overt signifier of the Bots’ adolescent pedigree at their early Sunday show was matching white t-shirts festooned with crude line drawings of breasts. The L.A. duo consists of brothers Mikaiah Lei (guitar) and drummer Anaiah Lei, but the miracle of modern effects provides more thunder than their ranks indicate on last month’s debut, Pink Palms.
While the siblings’ influences are well-trodden, the manner in which they combine punk, psych, blues, and dub sounds thoroughly fresh. Under a skin-braising sun, they moved effortlessly from bashing out wiry scuzz-rock on “Ethiopia” to harnessing a vintage mechanical drum beat for “Blinded.”
Even in the most distorted passages, the elder Lei’s guitar never wanted for strategy. His playing melded seamlessly with the backing tracks instead of being hurried along by them. Tellingly, most of his between-song banter was instruction for the monitor engineer.
On drums, Anaiah maintained both lock-step rhythm and blanket coverage of the low-end range traditionally covered by bass. Their thoughtful arrangements and attention to dynamics negated the limitations of a twopiece configuration. By mid-set, the crowd grew from a handful of people at the foot of the stage into a respectable group of curious wanderers.
The surf beat of “Alanna” got heads bobbing and “All I Really Want” transformed sneering teen angst into full-bodied dystopia. Closer “5:17” sealed the deal with unhinged fret work leading to a scorched-earth climax. At this rate, the Bots won’t be playing while the sun is high for long.