After the Jump: HEALTH at Music Hall of Williamsburg

Post Author: , Karen Aragon

If you spend much of Saturday in the sun as you wade in between venues hosting loud rock bands, you're telling your hangover you're just not that into it. It deserves water and aspirin but you'd rather run around forgetting it exists. Pig. Look what you won: now it's 9:30 pm and you've got two more bands you could care about slightly more than you do your own headache before the band you've been waiting all day to see finally plays.

Or at least finally spends an hour trying to figure out why one of their amps is spitting out garbled noises. (Miscommunication: blown amp head). HEALTH, the band in question, finally got a hand from a Titus Andronicus replacement-head and were on their way.

I mentioned in the previous After The Jump post that it was novel to see Ponytail claim a raised stage with an elaborate sound system, but it was much, much stranger to see HEALTH do it. Given the recognition they've won from “mainstream” music sites, they're obviously no stranger to official venues. But unlike Ponytail, who simply come off as a fantastic band in a tradition of professional, heavy-rock/prog rock acts, HEALTH's choreographed antics have always seemed particularly suited to the packed party space, where their loud body movement, meshing with the noise deftly issuing from their amps, melts into a dense room of devotees who are as possessed as their performers in unselfconscious dance.

That's the fantasy I think HEALTH has the potential to conjure every time I've seen them out, and this might have been the first time I'd watched the chance go unrealized. Blame it on the nature of the event (20 different blogs calling the shots translates to a very eclectic audience, of which many were quite possibly just not feeling it), or the blood that boiled during their technical difficulties (vocalist/guitarist/etc.-ist Jake Duzsik spent about half an hour walking in circles and wringing his fists in irritation), but the potential for synergy was lobotomized.

That said, there's nothing necessarily wrong with a fourth wall. We watched the caged kids sing, and it was as engaging as that sounds: like going to the monkey house, or maybe the orphanage, and following the instructions to refrain from tapping on the glass.