Live Music + Gig Reviews

HEALTH @ Luminaire, London

1 May 2008



HEALTH champion two things in particular. First, they believe drums shall inherit the Earth. Second, they’ll wager that sporting hair, lots and lots of hair, is a vital prerequisite for such a takeover.

At one point during the Los Angeles-based foursome’s 30-minute foray onto the Luminaire’s stage, guitarist John Famiglietti stands stock-still, his hair draped across where his face might be. Does he have a face? He might be faceless. But, guitarist or not, he has drumsticks. Drumsticks are good.

Behind him sits a colossus who also has drumsticks. He’s sweatily pounding kilojoules of energy at his skins. He has lots of hair too, but it’s tied up, so it flaps. He’s planet-sized – maybe he’s the one they call Jupiter? But no, he’s called BJ. And on this evidence, everyone should enjoy an energetic BJ once in a while.

HEALTH have been compared to fellow no-wave noiseniks Black Dice and, especially, Liars. The comparisons stand, but really HEALTH have their own, playfully tribal sound that draws in the hyper-disco leanings of Dan Deacon as much as it does rock’s left brain.

Early in the set, Crimewave, with its tappety-tappety-tap moments between the thundering, pulverising drumming, is instantly recognisable. Put out as part of a split 7″ with Crystal Castles, on these shores it’s still HEALTH’s best-known number. In a couple of other tracks – calling them ‘songs’ seems indescriptive – guitarist and singer Jake Duzsik howls and hollers as Famiglietti bounds off the stage to flap his hair about.

And then, having scarcely got started, they’ve stopped.

This extreme brevity shouldn’t be seen as a negative. HEALTH’s clarity of vision underlines that they don’t need to pad a set with filler just because middling indie noodlers do. They get up, bash out their creed, ship out. We’ve been ravished. It was hot. Now we’d like some more.

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