On Friday night, DC9 mainstay, Liberation Dance Party brought in New York’s The Golden Filter for a special appearance to amp up the already crazy dance party LDP hosts week after week. Unsurprisingly, the result was an even crazier dance party. The Golden Filter delivered a killer set of sexy electro-pop to a packed house eager to dance, dance, dance! And dance they did, taking to the riser boxes, standing on the booths, shaking and grinding while the band delivered on the promise of their amazing debut album, Voluspa, with a live performance that was a delight to watch through the filter of moving bodies.
Each song on The Golden Filter’s long-player comes wrapped in a layer of ethereal gauze that I feel elevates the album from run-of-the-mill electro-pop. Going into Friday night’s show, I was very curious how that sound was going to come across live. For the most part the band performed amped-up, versions of their album tracks that focused on body-moving over atmosphere (rightfully so playing at a dance party). But there were a few great moments when that atmosphere The Golden Filter is so good at creating was too awesome to resist. For instance when they slowed it down to play ‘Moonlight Fantasy’; a sexy, synth-stringed number that had Penelope Trappes delivering a truly dreamy vocal performance that must have got some pulses racing in the dark corners of the club.
The Golden Filter are a duo on their album, but a trio live. Penelope Trappes is the playful, charismatic, master of ceremonies; a tall, blond, goddess peeking out from behind her long bangs and commanding the crowd with her singing and hand gestures. Stephen Hindman may be short in stature but he is a huge presence in The Golden Filter’s sound. The synth-mastermind of the group; he played very impressive live keyboards, launched pre-programmed loops via laptop, controlled the lights of the show, and most impressively played a powerful auxiliary drummer with a mini-kit set-up next to his keyboards. I was on Hindman’s side of the stage and I was as mesmerized by his timing (switching from keyboards, to drums, and back; sometimes within seconds) as I was with Trappes’ voice and stunning appearance. Rounding out the live band is a full-on drummer; always a smart move when taking electronic music on the road.* Perhaps the most impressive aspect of The Golden Filter’s live sound is their drumming. When Hindman turns to his mini-kit and accompanies the live drummer the dual-drumming effect is amazing. Talk about getting bodies moving! The dual drumming had the double effect of amping the volume of the beats and deepening their pitch to a tribal sound that the audience found irresistible.
The Golden Filter’s set-list was basically a rearranged song order of Voluspa. The show began with a spare, trad electro-pop sound but the band quickly expanded their sound after a few songs to really hit that danceable yet gauzy sound I mentioned earlier. At one point in the middle of their set, Trappes picked up a silver, box-shaped, noise-maker and the band did a pure atmopshere jam. It was the least dance-portion of the night and Trappes apologized for their “indulgence” before commanding the crowd to “Dance!”. It was an apology that was hardly necessary because we were all standing in the crowd completely hypnotized by the beautiful noise The Golden Filter had just created.
By the end of the set, the crowd was so worked up and thick with bodies that the band couldn’t even get off of the stage! So they dived head-first into their one-song encore, performing a cover of The White Stripes’ ‘The Hardest Button to Button’ that got the crowd dancing hard and screaming along with the Trappes’ singing. The Golden Filter worked the crowd perfectly on Friday, giving them exactly what they were looking for at Liberation Dance Party gone live.
* I was unable to identify The Golden Filter’s live drummer. If anyone knows who he is please leave a comment.