In Search of Ladytron
The electro-goth icons proved elusive as ever in their lowkey return earlier this year at a two-night stint in LA.
It was an uncharacteristically cold and gloomy night in Hollywood when Ladytron slipped quietly into town for a pair of concerts this past March, the band’s first in the area for seven years. Set at the ornate and historic Fonda Theatre, the venue was packed full of denim and black-leather-clad fans simmering with a palpable sense of anticipation. Activity at the bars throughout the theater: brisk.
By the time Ladytron took the stage well into the late-night hours, the crowd’s intensity had grown to a feverish pitch. More and more people piled eagerly onto the already-tight main floor directly in front of the band. With a dark and backlit production rendering the band members shadowy silhouettes being flashed with surreal projections, they charged through tracks both old and new.
The show concluded with the band’s diehard fans screaming for more, even after an early-morning encore that ended on the one-two punch of signature singles “Seventeen” and “Destroy Everything You Touch.”
The evening was an impressive display from both the group and their audience, who’ve remained vigilant in the nearly eight year gap between 2011’s Gravity the Seducer and their eponymous 2019 comeback.
The morning after Ladytron’s first of two nights in Los Angeles, I had an appointment to tag along with the band as they roamed the city for a promotional photoshoot. The initial location changed more than once before they settled on an area in Downtown LA. While FLOOD’s photographer wisely hopped into the van with the group, I attempted to catch up with them on the fly. What started out as a series of text-messaged directions soon turned into a classic case of catch-me-if-you-can.
While the band hit a series of downtown locales, I was always one step behind. At one such location, I watched as the van with most of the band sped away just as I arrived. Singers Helen Marnie and Mira Aroyo could be clearly seen in their own car, Marnie’s bright blue-gray hair billowing in the breeze.
I finally snuck up on the elusive crew as they posed for photos in front of a dilapidated building in the Arts District. What looked like stage makeup turned out to be genuinely red-and-black-ringed eyes as they gazed into the camera lens. When I spoke with band member Daniel Hunt during a break in the action, he told me that the group had been up all night following a show in Mexico before arriving in Los Angeles, and that that first show had been played primarily on adrenaline.
The rest of the outfit stopped by to say hello. No one was very talkative, for obvious reasons.
“Tonight’s show should be a lot more…energetic,” Hunt chuckled wearily. “Actually getting to sleep in a bed last night was big.”
Watching the group assemble for another round of photos before heading to soundcheck, the Ladytron vision snapped into disturbingly clear focus. Where in the early 2000s their apocalyptic vision seemed like a sleek Blade Runner fantasy, in 2019 that same existential angst feels far too much like real life.
“Thanks for stopping by,” band member Reuben Wu said finally, shaking hands before heading off to another day in the life of a working modern musician. With another night descending on the city, the time had come for Ladytron to become all caps LADYTRON, just like on the Fonda marquee. And with that, they were gone. FL
Check out Ladytron’s upcoming tour dates below. For more pix of us chasing them around LA, click through the gallery.
2 – NYC – Brooklyn Steel
3 – Boston – Royale
4 – Montreal – Le SAT
5 – Toronto – Danforth Music Hall
11 – Chicago – Metro
12 – Seattle – Neptune
13 – Portland – Wonder Ballroom
14 – San Francisco – The UC Theatre