In support of today’s release of No Age’s third album, the very simply titled An Object, you certainly can’t accuse them of slacking off when it comes to promotion. You can’t accuse them of short changing their hometown fans either. A couple of weeks back they played a free show at the Santa Monica Pier as part of a series of Myspace-sponsored shows that are taking place over the summer, and this weekend they will make yet another appearance at FYF Fest, where they have become regulars over the years.
Squeezed in between was another free live show on Friday night at one of the more unlikely venues they’ll ever play: the Courtyard of the Hammer Museum, surrounded by the impressive spaces of the museum itself. After beginning the set with the drum-free “No Ground,” the same song that opens their latest record, Dean Allen Spunt took to the drum kit to begin a series of songs that led to the strange sight of a Hammer Museum moshpit. In all honesty, it’s pretty difficult to hear songs such as older favourite “Teen Creeps” and new song “C’Mon, Stimmung” being played with such verve and energy without wanting to bounce around like a lunatic, and there were plenty in the Courtyard who were willing to accept the invitation.
The appeal of No Age has always gone beyond the music. An Object is actually an oddly subdued and occasionally frustrating listen, which at its best still contains some fantastic songs, but it’s not just the music itself this time that is worthy of attention. The album’s title and the band’s insistence on designing, packaging, and sending all copies of the album themselves puts a focus on the physical entity of the album itself, and as such, this refocusing of attention seems worthy of the Hammer’s usual interests.
Taking that into consideration, the intimate show and the almost entire absence of a barrier between the band and its audience (some nervous-looking museum security notwithstanding) made a lot more sense. The show felt like a celebration not just of the new album, but of the concept of No Age as a whole, and apart from anything else, it highlighted the Courtyard as a fantastic gig space. When you have the option of joining in the chaos right down at the front or watching it from above on one of the surrounding balconies, it certainly makes for a multi-faceted viewing experience.
As for the duo, they brought the same raucous energy and youthful vigor they always have as a live band, even though they have actually been around for a while now. Whether the new, even-more-stripped-down approach of An Object gains the band a different type of recognition remains to be seen, but for now they remain one of the city’s most reliable live acts, not to mention a band that is clearly excited by the idea of connecting with its audience in an old-school, DIY manner. This aspect of their approach will continue to pay off going forward. As for the present…well, they have FYF to get ready for.
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