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In August 2015, Atlas Genius released their sophomore album “Inanimate Objects” (Warner Brother Records). It is an album that showcases the bands ability to meld driving guitars and rhythmic synths; a trademark of these Australian indie electronic rockers. In support of their latest album, and with a busy summer of tour dates ahead of them, Atlas Genius stopped by the El Rey Theatre on April 30, 2016.

After impressive opening sets by Skylar Grey and The Young Wild, brothers Keith (vocals/guitar and Michael (drums) Jeffrey took the stage with bassist Alex Marans and multi-instrumentalist Blake Straus to the roar of an adoring crowd. From the first note played, the crowd was fully engaged, dancing and singing to virtually every song that the band played. Keith’s energy was infectious and he demonstrated the qualities of a consummate front man, taking his guitar playing into the audience at various moments of the show, rocking himself to exhaustion and he played licks with his back to the ground, and influencing the sold-out venue to simultaneously jump in the air to the beat of the music.

It was a setlist that focused mostly on their latest release with highlights being the single “Stockholm” and the dance-inducing “If So”, and of course the playing of some of their popular tracks from their debut, but the standout performances were of the various covers that they performed. Their performance would have been complete without the covers, but putting their own spin on the Tears For Fears classic “Everybody Wants To Rule The World”, Drake’s ubiquitous “Hotline Bling” and The Weeknd’s “The Hills” (which Skylar Grey joined them to sing) was truly enjoyable to listen to and watch for a music dweeb like myself.

I’m of the opinion that covers can define a band. A poor cover, or a cover that is not distinctly their own, only proves that a band lacks those unique qualities to sustain career longevity. A good cover, a cover that makes you do a double take because it sounds excitingly fresh, proves that that band’s stylistic musicality is no longer in question, and that it’s only a matter of them playing and/or writing the right songs to keep playing until they decide to call it day. Atlas Genius has that stylistic musicality in spades, and showcased it all at the El Rey.

When they reached their finale with the performance of their biggest hit “Trojans”, a costumed Trojan joined the band on stage to (from my vantage from a distance) throw condoms out into the audience. The shtick proved hilarious, and audience was laughing and dancing until the final note.

Atlas Genius will be back in the area on June 11, 2016 for a free a 55 minute set at Make Music Pasadena. If it’s anything like their performance at the El Rey, it will definitely be an act you shouldn’t miss out on.

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