January 24th, 2012 9:26am

Silhouettes With No Regrets

Chairlift @ Bowery Ballroom 1/23/2012

Sidewalk Safari / Le Flying Saucer Hat / Take It Out On Me / Wrong Opinion / Ghost Tonight / Cool As A Fire / Planet Health / Met Before / Frigid Spring / Guilty As Charged / I Belong In Your Arms // Evident Utensil / Amanaemonesia

I reviewed Chairlift’s wonderful new album Something for Pitchfork. Here are some thoughts on this performance.

Chairlift “I Belong In Your Arms”

1. Chairlift are clearly confident and bold enough to skip their most famous song in concert. I don’t think anyone was too upset about this. While I tend to think that artists should be generous in playing their best-known songs, they weren’t wrong to place the emphasis on their very, very strong new songs and to make a case that they don’t really need “Bruises” to play a good, engaging set. Audience response to songs like “Amanaemonesia,” “Met Before” and “I Belong In Your Arms” suggest those songs are going to end up being “hits” with their fans anyway.

2. The band’s sound is just as clean and precise in concert as it is on record. I’m a sucker for this sort of hyper-professionalism, particularly when a group projects a good, positive energy rather than rote recital. Olga Bell from Bell joined the band on keyboards and backing vocals – she nailed her parts, and served as a fine foil to Caroline Polachek, who was freed up to focus on her vocals and dancing. Polachek’s vocal performance was outstanding and she was charismatic enough that her talent for nuanced phrasing and vocal restraint was not lost in the less forgiving dynamics of a stage performance.

3. A strange young woman jumped on to the stage during “I Belong In Your Arms” and tried to dance up on Caroline. A female security guard tried to pull her away, but the girl resisted, and accidentally hit the singer in the face as she tried to perform. A second guard showed up, but the girl was still flailing around, refusing to get off stage. Caroline made it through the song, but was visibly startled and laughing at the absurdity of the situation. It was a really strange thing to see, and pretty unexpected at this sort of pop show.

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