It’s too easy to directly compare a band like Palberta to their No Wave/Post-Punk brethren. Sure, the similarities are there, but their sound is so clearly its own unique entity. It’s a riveting mishmash of dissonant, angular guitar riffs and textures, sudden tempo shifts, and vocals that range from shrill screams to hoarse whispers, complimented by Anina Ivry-Block, Lily Konigsberg and Nina Ryser’s bizarrely childlike mannerisms and on-stage antics that belie the sophistication of the music being made. To see them live is to witness a striking balance between off-kilter musical experimentation and a strange theatricality. A noisy, aggressive tune could easily be followed by a choreographed dance routine.
Their recent appearance at Deep Thoughts was no exception. It was a night of sensory overload: Tig Bitty’s unapologetically pornographic rhymes and booty beats kicked off the evening, noise rock experimentalists New England Patriots flooded the space with gargantuan waves of uncanny auditory stimuli, and Skimask provided the grand finale by unleashing an unremitting sonic assault on the audience. Sandwiched between the Pats and Skimask, Palberta’s set was a departure from the aural bombast that preceded and followed it, but was no less energetic or impactful. Moments of quietly chanted, incantation-like lyrics and guitars gently played with an improvised cigarette-lighter-as-slide were contrasted with punky outbursts and Ivry-Block tumbling into the crowd. Simply stated, this was a quirky performance that never devolved into mere spectacle.
Here are two highlights from the show: “Superstore” and “Doodad.” (Photo: Jia-Lian Lin)