Live: The Radio Dept. @ El Rey Theatre, 2.16.11

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With expectations kindly lowered by opening act Young Prisms, the Radio Dept. took a Los Angeles stage for the first time in history and proceeded to annihilate their set like Galactus devouring a planet. For a too-brief hour, the Swedish act cruised through catalog favorites (a ferocious “Ewan”!) and more recent tracks (“The New Improved Hypocrisy,” “Heaven’s on Fire”) with a minimum of banter. They say drum machines have no soul, but the group had no problem playing passionately over a laptop’s rhythms, their backing tracks melding flawlessly with the live guitar/bass/synth trio. For a critic seeing his favorite working band for the first time, it was pretty much perfect.

By the end, the audience was so dazed, they could barely muster the strength to cheer the band on for an encore — if not, that was the most bafflingly lazy post-set applause I’ve ever seen. The trio came back for a final song, but even with their Coachella set on the horizon, no set list could’ve been long enough.

Previously: Interview: The Radio Dept. | All Radio Dept. posts