LOS ANGELES — With the wave of a finger and the strike of a pose, the Tim Darcy-led Ought brought its eclectic style to the Teragram Ballroom for what would end up being a somber and frenetic set.
With the Montreal outfit fresh off releasing Room Inside The World, an album that showed the band could experiment without shedding its character, Ought’s set proved to be surprisingly textured, with the inclusion of more synths and jagged guitar licks by Darcy. The group’s latest singles, “Desire,” “These 3 Things” and “Disaffection,” were elegant in a live setting and were nearly identical to the studio recordings. “Desire” was especially electrifying, even with its serene vibe. Once Darcy uttered the beginning lines, “Didn’t I say to you not too recent/ It was never gonna stay,” the crowd showed its first signs of life. With concertgoers chanting alongside Darcy, mimicking the choir-like, call-and-response effect, the L.A. venue quickly gravitated to wlhat the frontman had to offer.
It was clear why Darcy has drawn comparisons to David Byrne. Aside from his strikingly vocal delivery and yelp, his charm and unassuming extroversion on stage recalled the Talking Heads’ frontman. On tracks like “Habit” and “Men For Miles,” Darcy paired his feverish range with a sway of the hips, expressive pantomime and a smile that lit up the venue. With several utterances of “That’s so sweet,” and affectionate nods of approval toward both his bandmates and fans, it became obvious why people gravitate to Ought and rave about its live performances.
Ought delved into a mix of each of its first three records. The band began with four tracks from Room Inside The World, while the encore consisted of more frantic cuts off the debut album, More Than Any Other Day: “The Weather Song” and “Today More Than Any Other Day.” Sandwiched between, the band played three of its most popular tracks: “Men For Miles,” “Habit” and “Beautiful Blue Sky.” While short in length, Ought’s set made quite mark.
Up-and-coming post-punk band Flasher opened the show. Comprised of members of Priests, Bless and Big Hush, the Washington D.C. trio proved its worth. Inciting comparisons to B-Boys and Iceage, Flasher’s performance flared toward post-punk-isms, shoegaze and infectious indie rock. The band’s set consisted of two singles it released last year (“Winnie” and Burn Blue) alongside cuts off a 2016 self-titled EP.
Follow writer Kyle Kohner at Twitter.com/kylejkohner.