Holy Ghost! Lights Up The Troubadour

To quote esteemed football manager Rafa Benitez, here are some facts: electronic music is in right now. While this may seem obvious to anyone who has listened to either terrestrial or satellite radio over the past 18 months, Monday night’s Holy Ghost! Show at the Troubadour confirmed that young, in-the-know music listeners could turn literally any venue into a dance party. Even the most hallowed of rock halls in Los Angeles.

After stirring set by L.A.’s own Classixx, the Brooklyn-natives hit the stage, and hit it hard. Opening with their single, the peppy, dancey “Dumb Disco Ideas,” the principal duo of Nick Millhiser and Alex Frankel got the crowd moving and they didn’t stop until the lights went on. Backed by a drummer, guitarist along with two guys manning drum machine duties (along with an intricate machine with plug-ins that seemed suited for a doctor’s office), it was a miracle that the cramped quarters on the teeny Troubadour stage was able to fit all of the musicians. Then again, the way Millhiser and Frankel arranged the stage; they probably could solve a Rubix Cube quickly and without any difficulty.  

For those unfamiliar with the synthpop duo, Holy Ghost! grew up together on New York’s Upper West Side and were members of Automato, a hip-hop group. Upon dissecting their songs closely, this shouldn’t be much of a surprise. In fact, once you get past disco and trippy lights, you can hear both hip-hop and the New York City dance music scene of the late ‘80s and roaring ‘90s influence the foundational drums, which are layered so well that you can’t hear initially.

It’s easy to understand why they were able to sell out the venue on a night when people don’t party hard. Generally, fans of this type of music are licking their wounds from partying too hard from over the weekend. Not here. Sounding a bit like Cut Copy and even labelmates LCD Soundsystem, the crowd was taken by their exquisite synths and high-energy live show.

Monday night at the Troubadour not too long ago used to mean seeing your favorite rockers or singer-songwriter in an intimate, sweaty and unbearably hot setting. This didn’t bother fans. The Troubadour, for at least one night, felt like The Hacienda in Manchester, which is to say Holy Ghost! Would have fit in perfectly with the late ‘80s scene there.

With their second album coming out later this year, Holy Ghost! gave fans a taste of what’s to come. Don’t fret L.A.; the guys will be back with an appearance at FYF Fest in August. Until then, jamming on their songs and having your own dance party will have to suffice.