Battles school their SF fans at The Independent with their math-leaning prog chops

BattlesPhotos by Laura Tsu // Written by Kevin Quandt //

Battles with Once and Future Band //
The Independent – San Francisco
June 13th, 2016 //

One of the reigning bands of math-leaning prog rock made a little stop in SF this month to fully demonstrate their technical prowess in front of a happy handful of devout fans.

Up-and-coming Oakland outfit Once and Future Band not only handled support duties, but also damn near showed up the headliners. Playing mostly material off their debut EP Brain, which fully dials into a more psychedelic take on Steely Dan, it’s safe to say these guys are ready to bring their sound to wider audiences as psych rock continues to gain new followers.


It’s now been a few years — and tours — since Battles shaved off a quarter of their personnel (former lead vocalist/guitarist Tyondai Braxton), and it’s still taking the band some time to make the adjustment. However, similar to what we witnessed at Battles’ gig in LA last year (read our review of the show here), this latest jaunt behind 2015’s La Di Da Di presented a tighter performance from them.

The one-two punch of “Dot Com” into “Ice Cream” is always a surefire crowd-pleaser that fully demonstrates a wide range of chops Ian Williams (guitar, keyboards), Dave Konopka (guitar, bass) and John Stanier (drums) each possess. “Atlas” was nicely placed in the second half of Battles’ setlist and has become a shiny beacon during their shows, even if the song’s vocals are triggered rather than performed live. All in all, the NYC trio is always a romp into unique territory, which remains pretty rewarding to those who seek something different from the rest.

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