After opening for the Arcade Fire for two nights at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles, Electrelane put in a headlining show of its own at the Troubadour on May 31. It became very clear what those earnest young folks in the Arcade Fire see in these four women. Lead singer Verity Susman often throws her head back in rapt abandon when crooning or rocking the hell out of her organ. Lead guitarist Mia Clarke can ring a lot of different emotions out of her axe. And the bass line of “To the East,” the set’s centerpiece and best track off Electrelane’s latest album, No Shouts, No Calls (LABEL), is almost completely identical to the rousing low end of “Rebellion (Lies).”
Electrelane culled songs equally from its four albums. The name of No Shouts, No Calls took on new meaning, as it could be interpreted as a plea to their male audience members to cut the cat calls and hoots. But it’s hard not to be mesmerized by Clarke when she garners haunting scraping sounds from her guitar or does deeds with it and accompanying amps that recall Hendrix at his most flagrantly sexual. Over the course of the evening, the members of Electrelane seemed genuinely amazed and flattered by all the love they were getting from the crowd.
The band members are particularly adept at sudden tempo and dynamic changes, as they proved on songs like “After the Call.” They can do longer, jammier stuff or short, sharp instrumentals like “Between the Wolf and the Dog.” Or they can blend their voices prettily on quieter numbers. It’s an impressive show, one that indicates that Electrelane shouldn’t be nearly as obscure as it remains. More support from big-name pals, more great albums like No Shouts, and more shows like the one at the Troubadour may change that.