Live review: Gang Gang Dance at the Mohawk, Austin

gang gang dance

Three years after introducing organic tribal synths orchestrated through ethnic avant-dance style rhythms on their 2005 full-debut album, God’s Money, Gang Gang Dance marched back into the contemporary post-rock scene with their most recent and more epic Saint Dymphna. As the band’s music gained favor with critics, Hot Chip and Spank Rock’s XXXChange remixed their single “House Jam.” GGD’s style is so explicit that their musical medley of rich Middle Eastern scales, ritualistic Peyote-like drums, mystical keyboards and whatever genre they investigate—ambient, noise punk, and hip-hop—cannot be emulated.

Despite the breezy cold front which blew through Austin, the Brooklyn-based quartet threw one long psychedelic jam session for the dark-clad audience at Mohawk’s outside stage. The heavily Arabic-influenced duo Raindow Rabia warmed up the audience before GGD took the stage. The stage set was a spectacle—the members intricately assembled percussion, keyboards, and numerous gizmos; it was as mesmerizing visually as the music was aurally.

Liz Bougatsos, known for her playful young geisha-like voice echoing through tunnel-like reverb, looked sassy in her Ghostface Killah T-shirt as she soulfully struck her toms with a whimsical smile glued to her face. Guitarist Josh Diamond and drummer Tim Dewit, each rocking the inevitable Hand of Fatima charm necklace, ad-libbed at times so fluidly that they could only depend less on rehearsing and more on their otherworldly intuition, while keyboardist Brian DeGraw played a distinct role in performing compelling layers with his drum pad and keyboards.

Due to the band’s history of personal conflicts, it is unknown what more we expect from this outfit in the near future. However, Bougatsos promised to revisit the stage very soon. Her fans in Austin will be waiting.

Words & images: Lina Khaznadar

gang gang dance
gang gang dance

Darren Ressler

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