The Point, Atlanta • May 11, 1999
A superb night of music. Period. New Zealand/New York’s Bailter Space made a pit stop in Atlanta and treated a hardy Tuesday night crowd to a thrilling set that veered from blissed-out instrumentalism to flat-out disturbing.
First, however, locals 3D5SPD ably held up as the undercard. 3D5SPD is preparing for the release of a new album, and have added samples to their already uncanny repertoire. Slightly groovy, spacey jams lulled the crowd into a comfortable space, only to end in abrupt, muscular bursts of rock that shocked the listeners back to consciousness. It’s 3D5SPD’s trademark, and damned if they don’t do it well. The sampling still could be integrated a bit better, but miscues were handled with humor, and hell, progress means taking some chances in order to get it right and make it better…
Looking a bit road-weary, Bailter Space took the stage and segued from the earlier instrumental jams with a couple hypnotic songs of their own. But that didn’t last long. The third song blistered along, as words fell over themselves, propelled by a sinister bassline, relentless percussion, and a menacing guitar. Switching gears quickly, Bailter Space next ventured into blisspop territory, but without losing the dogged aggressiveness that distinguishes Bailter Space from their contemporaries. From there, the crowd continued on its guided tour of the cracks and crevices of rock music, where lost and/or independent souls lurk in the shadows. One part Superchunk, one part Pixies, and one part Dinosaur Jr. is one way to describe the rollercoaster of music and expression, though it fails to describe the band’s own unique feel. Bailter Space proved to be a wake-up call to those who dismiss “alternative rock” these days — because under such shopworn labels is where you’ll find gems like this band.