Health, Perturbator and Street Sects invaded the Paradise – 9/7

A trio of noisemakers took over Comm. Ave. for a strobe-blasted Wednesday night earlier this month.

I try and resist the urge to foreground how a particular show is lit when I write about it right off the bat, but sometimes the circumstances simply demand it. The strobing, disorienting, backlit, blown-out visual barrage of this late summer’s co-headlining tour from L.A. band Health and French synthwaver Perturbator did, unsurprisingly, demand it. A passing familiarity with either artist suggests that a battering light show simply comes with the territory. Perturbator’s cinematic aspirations and Health’s dark, shapeshifting sound both evoke something a little more dramatic than your typical club setup.

But before we even got to that, openers Street Sects had a bone to pick, and a dream to out-strobe their tour-mates. While both headliners took a cerebral approach to at least some of their time on stage, the Austin duo of vocalist Leo Ashline and instrumentalist Shaun Ringsmuth hadn’t the patience for that. The pair’s nasty synth-punk threw an unrelenting series of blows to the face, Ashline’s bark and Ringsmuth’s caustic electronics piling atop one another in a frantic maelstrom before wrapping up seemingly as quickly as they had begun. A thrilling exercise in confrontation, it might’ve been my favorite set of the night.

Peturbator’s James Kent, armed with a synth podium, guitar and demonically red-glowing microphone, hit the stage next. With the accompaniment of a live drummer, Kent’s driving, gothic, John Carpenter chase scene compositions never lacked momentum, even if they did come up a little short on variety by the conclusion of an hour-long set. Credit to that light show though, the saturated bursts of color behind Kent’s flowing locks successfully elevated the drama of it all.

Closing out the night, west coast trio Health showed off the multifaceted reaches of their sound, which was at once noisy, abrasive, dreamy and danceable in a goth-night-at-the-club kind of way. The spirit of their collab-heavy DISCO4 project (released in two parts between 2020 and April of this year) extended to the set, which invited both Ashline and Kent back to the stage for their own featured tracks.

Check out photos from the whole evening below.