Coming off the back of the release of his first album in four years, Los Angeles-based artist and Wedidit boss Henry Laufer aka Shlohmo took over The Fonda stage last week with a retooled live set featuring a hired gun drummer and friend/label mate D33J. It’s Laufer’s first foray into the band world as Shlohmo and, coming at the tail end of a national tour, felt like a veritable homecoming celebration. With a cooky array of imagery splayed behind the stage (chains, rain drops, a spliff), the band giddily took the stage after performances from TEAMSesh rapper BONES, Purple and Nick Melons. Like Dark Red, Laufer’s new album on True Panther Sounds, the performance was rife with clattering, precision-point drums and moody, dirge-like guitar work and true to form, the band worked through most of the new album.
And with a few exceptions, the new material sounded great, drawing from both a technical metal lineage and the Southern hip hop, R&B and jungle influences that have popped up on his past several releases. Also like the album, the middle portion of the show felt a bit sludgy, Dark Red tracks like “Apathy”, “Ditch” and “Remains” didn’t quite hold the attention of Vacation effort “Rained The Whole Time” and Laid Out highlight “Later”. Nonetheless, the crowd was firmly eating out of Laufer’s hands, a young squadron of Wedidit acolytes responding enthusiastically to nearly every track in the hour long set. At his best, Shlohmo sounds like a confluence of Tim Hecker and Goldie, DJ Screw and The Album Leaf and there were enough moments of brilliance throughout the night at The Fonda to ride away from the Sunset Boulevard venue with a huge smile plastered on.