May 17, 2013
I had last seen Berth Control play a set at Williamsburg venue Goodbye Blue Monday last year, and as we all know, a lot of things can happen within a year. In fact, I was sitting at the upstairs bar at the Bowery Electric drinking a pint of Guinness when Cat Rockefeller, one half of the creative force of the band and vocalist, saw me and excitedly told me that the band and its sound had grown since i had last seen them.
Before they played a note, i immediately noticed that the live lineup had gone through a lineup change (which is something not uncommon with a lot of bands), and it included a keyboardist, a different bassist, and Rockefeller’s collaborator back on the drum kit, while doing vocals. And with that lineup change, came a remarkably growth in the band’s sound, as though all of their influences – hip hop, punk, indie rock, funk, electronica and others – have begun to mesh in a way that created a fleshed out, unique sound. Much like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs‘ It’s Blitz, their new sound was a radical but carefully thought out, inspired change that felt like an utterly natural evolution. I also use the It’s Blitz comparison in this sense – Berth Control’s new and reworked material was a tautened balance between wild abandon and anxiously held control.
They did keep one thing that they’ve been doing a while – they’ve started out their set with a couple of songs deeply inspired by hip hop. And this material (much like a great deal of all of their material) told tales about white trash outsiders. it’s goofy as hell but there’s a sincerity beneath the seeming irony. It fits the change of direction without seeming too incongruous. Pretty impressive, I must say.
Check out a few photos from their set below.
For these photos and the rest of the photos from this set, check out the Flickr set here: