Gino DePinto, AOL
With one problem solved, the second arises of how to present the contributions of guest vocalists Matias Aguayo, Gary Numan and Blonde Redhead's Kazu Makino. With conflicting schedules and domestic locations spread over several continents, the possibility of all three making a guest appearance at Battles' first London gig as a three-piece at Heaven was never going to be a reality.
But rather than keeping the audience waiting to find out the answer, 'Sweetie & Shag' is dropped early and Kazu Makino's face appears on two screens located behind the band. It's a little disconcerting at first but the fact that the band plays in perfect synchronicity with the pre-recorded vocals is a testament to Battles' skills as musicians able to deliver highly complex beats and rhythms across a variety of instruments.
Similarly, Numan's disembodied head floats ominously as his characteristically multi-track and nasal vocals drive 'My Machines' with a teeth-grinding urgency, though Aguayo's contribution on the delicious 'Ice Cream' briefly falls out of synch.
But the real heroes are Battles themselves. As Ian Williams and Dave Konopka switch effortlessly from guitar, bass, keyboards and back again -- more often than not in the space of a single song -- drummer John Stanier steers proceedings at the centre of both the stage and the maelstrom emanating from it. Their frightening proficiency is matched by a performance that's nothing less than compelling.