Liars shows are notable for the dance moves showcased by Angus Andrew, the impossibly tall and lanky lead singer of the aggressive, experimental rock quartet. On Tuesday at the 9:30 club, he didn't disappoint.
There was the Bar Stool Twist; the I Just Washed My Hands and There Are No Paper Towels in This Restroom; the Ouch! My Back!; and his old reliable, the Weird Australian Dude With Limited Control of His Central Nervous System.
A few of those were born out of necessity. A recent back injury has confined Andrew to a chair for the band's current tour, although he did make it to his feet on a few occasions Tuesday night. The band's performance didn't suffer for his lack of mobility: Liars showed an impressive mastery over many rock-and-roll subgenres, which wasn't too surprising considering the band's recorded output has veered from dance-punk to Wiccan folk to muscular garage rock.
A laid-back groove helped "Houseclouds" saunter along like a lost Happy Mondays track, while the excessive fuzz and feedback of "Freak Out" (sung by multi-instrumentalist Aaron Hemphill) made it a dead ringer for the Jesus and Mary Chain. The band also had plenty of driving hard-rock moments and worked up an imposing industrial squall on "We Fenced Other Gardens With the Bones of Our Own." When Andrew let loose with his commanding howl -- which was roughly on every other song -- you could see plenty of his countryman Nick Cave, whose early '80s outfit, the Birthday Party, was the main reference point for the band's more chaotic material.
--David Malitz, Feb. 2008