Skip to content

Review: Lip Critic @ The Louisiana

New York’s electronic punk quartet bring their extraordinary noise to Bristol, with literally no strings attached.

By Louis Amor, Third Year Zoology

It’s always exciting walking into a venue with little idea of what to expect from the act you’re seeing. With the fiery intensity of the handful of singles they had released for their debut album Hex Dealer, the only thing I was certain of was that this was going to be a full-on show.

That anticipation was maintained by the two thrilling Bristol-based support acts who kicked off the evening in an energetic style. My First Time felt like watching a big stage band confined into a smaller venue. Drummer Jordanna Fonsey was relentless, putting all her energy into every strike of drum set, it was a highly animated playing style which complimented their sound wonderfully. Similarly, frontman Isaac Stroud-Allen was very entertaining, spending a lot of the show right at the very edge of stage, engaging with the audience as if completely natural.

They were followed by the extremely energetic Mould, who have an impressive, modern sound. Each member of this trio brought something unique to their songs and performance, with the bassist in particular giving it his all, ending the performance drenched in sweat. When they all came together the combined noise of this band was almost overwhelming, yet this would be effortlessly transitioned into bouncy indie-rhythms to bop your head to. I really felt the magical intimacy of The Louisiana during this performance, especially when someone at the front of the stage offered the band some crisps between songs.

Soon after the support, Lip Critic began an almost non-stop set. With one very brief break around the halfway mark, they continually pummelled the audience for almost an hour straight with their loud, profound and mind-blowing sound. Their set up is wholly unique, with two drummers flanking either side of the stage, and a central table on which a plethora of electronic equipment was placed. With absolutely no stringed instruments, they were able to produce a brutal punk sound which was far from synthetic. This very raw sound was fronted and performed with such an enormous energy I was in awe at their ability to maintain the pace of show with such little time to breathe.

Lip Critic @ The Louisiana | Louis Amor

You couldn’t take your eyes off the drummers Ilan Natter and Daniel Eberle, who played with so much passion but managed remain in tight synchrony throughout the entire length of the show. Their ferocious playing was beyond a rhythmic foundation for the other members to play over, it was an essential part of the sound, even playing the leading role during parts of the performance. The fact such fast-paced, intense drumming was being played by two separate people in unison still has me absolutely baffled.

With encouragement from sampler Connor Kleitz, alongside vocalist and sampler Bret Kaser, who both would occasionally jump into the crowd during their performance, the audience began to reciprocate the shier vitality being presented to us from the band. A few songs in, Kaser divided the audience in half, crouching down on the opposite of the room from stage, before sprinting across the floor, forcing the audience to jump into each other. As a front man, Kaser was dominative and powerful, largely letting the music take control of him as he jumped between the audience and the stage.

As a whole, the music they played was largely very close to their studio recorded sound, but they weren’t afraid to switch things up, keeping the audience on their toes. One of the most memorable moments of the show was during their performance of ‘Milky Max’ in which they completely changed the second half of the song, turning into a head banging metal track. Almost black metal like vocals and screams fuelled this chaotic switch in pace, as Kaser passed his mic onto one of the drummers who performed a lethal vocal performance as Kaser effortlessly took over drumming duties. It was also great to see some of their older material be played too, with the fluttery synths of ‘Dreamland 1’ bringing a much brighter sound to the brutality of their recent material, which formed a majority of the show.

Lip Critic’s distinctive style and forward-thinking approach to punk brings an exciting turn to this everchanging music scene, and it was an absolute privilege to able to see them in such an intimate, yet intense setting early on in their career.

Featured Image: Louis Amor

Have you seen Lip Critic live?