Dance Like Robots

DLR’s name suggests frantic machine-man antics, but their music is slow-burning mechanized naturalism better suited to soundtrack Grand Canyon dam ruptures than the dance stylings of the Funkatron 5000. What passes for “dancing” tonight is less robotic than arboric; audience members stand rooted to the floorboards, swaying in time with the beat. And even that’s more movement than you’ll get from the band. Hell, half the band plays with their backs to the audience. That’s OK, though — DLR’s music is meant to be heard, not seen. In the building post-rock sound saturation the band’s stage presence is almost a redundancy, and impossible to believe.

These five unassuming dudes — two guitarists, a keyboardist, a bassist, and a drummer — couldn’t possibly generate all this beautiful racket. Concealed backstage, the expansive and alien soundscape suggests, is an entire orchestra of guitarists, and a maybe soloing whale in a mic-ed up Sea World tank. And the music often seems even better felt than heard. Stuttering bass notes rumble the floor throughout the near-continous set, and guitar lines wax and wane, flickering at times like a slow-leak faucet before building to the intensity of Moby Dick’s climax, urgently broadcast in Morse code, while twinkling knob-twiddles and keyboard fills brighten the torrential brine.

DLR plays what you might call “atmospheric” music, as in every note played remains throughout the concert’s duration, not fading but combining with the surrounding air molecules to suffocate the audience in electrified symphonics. But asphyxiation’s penultimate stage is euphoria, after all, and the set ends while the audience is still gasping. Wobbly and high off second-hand guitar fumes, they scream and applaud while the band members quietly unplug their instruments and hurriedly exit the stage. That whale’s not gonna feed itself.