Concert Review: Ladytron – Exquisite English Electronica

Written by David Campos (@magicdave1983)

Live at Grand Central : Miami, FL – 10/15/2011

There are days when you realize you like a band so much, but you quickly deflate your joy by coming to the conclusion that the odds of seeing them are slim to none. This is because they tour only in Europe, or they randomly appear in a venue in another city and vanish quickly, or they play some festival which is too expensive for your checkbook, or some wild reason.  Yet, there are those rare moments when all the odds in your music world play in your favor. That moment crossed my path on a Saturday morning in July. I wake up and spontaneously search for any upcoming shows for the months ahead. Then I see one word: Ladytron. Not only was it a $20 ticket, but they were to play my birthday weekend. To top it off, they were to play at one of the best venues in Miami: Grand Central. After blissfully reading the wonderful news, I immediately bought myself the earliest birthday gift ever.

After racking up four studio albums, and a hefty number of EPs, remixes, and music videos in the last 10+ years, Ladytron, one of England’s premiere electronic bands, continued their streak with the release of their fifth studio album, 2011’s Gravity the Seducer.  As the weeks passed by, I followed their Twitter tales of the 20-city tour across North America in promotion of their new album. Each tweet meant they were one city closer to Miami. After a practicing a joyful patience, their time had come. Grand Central was practically in perfect form that night. The crowd within the spacious venue was pumped. The opening act, VHS or Beta, laid the dancing groundwork with a phenomenal performance that left the crowd stunned. The DJ between acts was spinning sheer musical fire with a perpetual, dance-inducing set.  All that was left to complete a masterpiece of musical anticipation was Ladytron.

The lights went dark and the back door opened. The crowd erupted as each member took the stage.  One half of the lead vocals, Helen Marnie, softly said, “This is the last show of our tour, let’s have some fun tonight!” They burst wide open with “Soft Power” off their 2005 effort Witching Hour. Marnie, along with her other vocal half, Mira Arroyo, were in a reserved, and proper state of being. Gracing their analog keyboards and synthesizers with European elegance, they knew they didn’t have to move, since the audience gladly took on that task for them.  Marnie and Arroyo’s eyes were in some possessed, robotic trance, as if they were programmed for one primary objective: make the people dance. The thundering bass-twang of “Ghosts” from the album Velocifero shook the people’s feet like an electronic earthquake, and I was caught in the dead center with no choice but to go with the musical flow. Their set was a perfect timeline that spanned their entire discography, from “International Dateline” to “Discotraxx” to “Mirage”. After playing “Seventeen” as their closer, they decided to encore the crowd one more time before they faded into darkness of the back door from once whence they came.

Their show was an insane science experiment that won first prize in my book.  If you listen to Ladytron, you must obey and dance, for resistance is futile!

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