No Age have come to represent a certain lo-fi, DIY aesthetic that draws a lot of parallels with the Sonic Youth-led art-punk community of the 1980’s. Like that band, No Age are more punk in spirit than sound – behind that wall of fuzz and feedback are solid power-pop tunes a la The Thermals or, at their most melodic, Cheap Trick. The songs played here tonight pulled evenly from their two full-lengths, Weirdo Rippers and Nouns, as well as their excellent new EP, Losing Feeling. Opener “Teen Creeps” seemed a direct nod to their predominantly angst-ridden, straight edge audience, who repaid the gesture by aggressively smashing into each other and yelling random compliments (“I love your shoes, Randy!”) for the rest of the night. But you can hardly blame them for being so enthused. For two people, No Age make a lot of racket, and their minimalist setup – Dean Spunt on drums/vocals/loops, Randy Randall on guitar – lends songs like “Here Should Be My Home” and “Every Artist Needs A Tragedy” a sense of urgency largely absent from their studio counterparts. By the time they played “Boy Void,” by far their most balls-to-the-wall moment, it was clear that everyone in the audience was much more exhausted than the band was.
In contrast, instrumental tracks like “Keechie” and “Aim At The Airport” found the group exploring more textural soundscapes, employing ambient loops with walls of feedback until the two became indistinguishable. Often these instrumental breaks would lead them back the other way again, into pop territory, and the fact that they so effortlessly straddle the line between the abstract and the accessible is what makes No Age so appealing. Nouns was one of the best records of 2008, while new tracks like “You’re A Target” are so effortlessly good it makes one wonder if it really is that easy for these guys. Either way, this show was a captivating recap on an already stunning career, despite the fact that these guys have been around for less than five years.
No Age played at (Le) Poisson Rouge in New York on Wednesday, October 14th.