When: Tue., Oct. 17, 8:30 p.m. 2017
The four guys of Algiers—who began their association in Georgia but also call New York and London their home—are the kind of hyper-eclectic band that's bound to send the obsessive categorizing type into an apoplectic fit. You could throw subgenre tags and band references at its sound all day long and still fail to completely capture it. But what the hell, let's give it a shot: how about Liars beating up on The Black Keys while Gary Clark, Jr. goads them on? Or maybe TV on the Radio robbing a bank with Massive Attack while Radiohead waits in the getaway car? No, that's not it either.
Most of the members of Algiers have been buddies since they were callow youths, but it took a relocation to London for its members to finally get Algiers started about a decade ago. It was there that the band tossed together everything from angular post-punk and avant-garde experimentalism to soul and gospel into a heady musical brew and let the chips fall where they may. It ended up with something that's sometimes dark, creepy, and brooding, and sometimes brash, explosive, and assaultive.
On Algiers' self-titled 2015 debut album, singer Franklin James Fisher, guitarist Lee Tesche, and bassist Ryan Mahan—all of whom play a multitude of other instruments, too—delivered an idiosyncratic statement that landed the band on a lot of best-of-the-year album lists. Not long after that, the group brought a drummer into the fold, becoming a four-piece with the addition of erstwhile Bloc Party skins-pounder Matt Tong. And as a quartet, Algiers released its follow-up, The Underside of Power, just a few months ago, with production work by Portishead's Adrian Utley.
Not only is Algiers' music an intense experience, the lyrical side of its work is made to match. Overtly political in its approach, the band feels duty-bound to make as overt and angry a statement as possible about the current climate. Given the rather apocalyptic feeling of the present global situation, it would seem that there's never been a better time for a band like Algiers to come along and swing the mighty hammer of art loudly and proudly in the name of disrupting the current order of things. And when Algiers brings all of that intensity to the stage, it's quite a sight to behold. —Jim Allen