In concert: Hercules & Love Affair at Rock & Roll Hotel
By Aaron Leitko
Two years ago, Hercules & Love Affair was a big band. When the Brooklyn-based dance group stopped in D.C. while touring in support of its self-titled debut record in 2008, it came packing a veritable disco orchestra - a horn section, a drummer, a percussionist, and a bassist.
Since then, Hercules has scaled back to the essentials: drums and bass.
The group’s Tuesday night concert at Rock & Roll Hotel found the backing band pink-slipped for two giant tables of electronic gizmos - drum machines, keyboards, samplers, and other do-dads.
It’s an improvement. Hercules’ new songs - from an as-yet-untitled record due this fall - draw heavily from the techno and house music of the late ’80s. The bass is deeper and the tempos are faster. The real bongos are out. The digital bongos are in. The new gear helps save on labor, too. During the set Andy Butler, the producer/composer who leads Hercules, twiddled nobs, tapped keys, and pushed buttons, but mostly, he danced.
What the group has given up in live instrumentation, they’ve gained in guest divas. Hercules now includes three singers - mainstay Kim Ann Fowler along with newcomers Shaun Wright, and Aerea Negrot, the latter of whom dressed in drag (Hercules & Love Affair is, unabashedly, out of the closet). They’re a good fit - an effective substitution for the ethereal croon of Anthony Hagerty, of
Anthony Antony & the Johnsons, who sang on the recording of “Blind,” the group’s biggest single.
And while Hercules may be a smaller line-up, their audience has held fast. The dance floor was crowded, sweaty, and full of couple’s that were not shy about making a PDA. Hercules may have reformatted, but it still has the beat
Update 8/5/10 1:30 pm
Hercules & Love Affair's label was nice enough to pass along the show's setlist:
Answers Come in Dreams
Raise Me Up
Kelle - Steup
I Can't Wait
Music Takes Me Higher (Ganymed cover)
August 4, 2010; 1:05 PM ET
Categories: In concert | Tags: Hercules & Love Affair
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