Review: ‘Satellite Party’

While Satellite Party's Columbia debut, "Ultra Payloaded" often comes across as irreconcilably disjointed, this Gotham perf bore out the well-worn adage that opposites really do attract.

Some things go together like ham and eggs — and some like ham and ice cream. On paper, it would seem like Perry Farrell was whipping up a concoction rivaling the latter when he recruited hair-metallurgist Nuno Bettencourt to weave a guitar cloak around his latest set of astral musings. And while Satellite Party’s Columbia debut, “Ultra Payloaded” often comes across as irreconcilably disjointed, this Gotham perf bore out the well-worn adage that opposites really do attract.

Farrell, as he has since the earliest days of Jane’s Addiction, parlayed a combination of manic energy and unabashed slapstick into a presence that alternately enhanced and overwhelmed the songs that made up the 80-minute set. He’s still not much of a singer per se, as borne out by quieter passages that revealed the shrillness of his tenor — a shortcoming that was masked to some degree by the pillowy backing vocals provided by his wife, Etty Lau, who stalked the stage with an ecdysiast’s sultriness.

Those mellow moods were far outnumbered, however, by jams that explored a strain of space-age psychedelia not all that far removed from Farrell’s older work. Bettencourt certainly asserted himself on many of the set’s more far-reaching songs — bringing an intriguing blend of Spanish and Middle Eastern influences on the de facto theme song “Ultra-Payloaded Satellite Party” and festooning “Insanity Rains” with unexpectedly fractured lines.

Perf was, as might be expected, heavy on high-concept visuals and dramatic pacing, but Farrell could have probably achieved the same sort of hypnotic effect strutting his stuff in front of a bare white backdrop. He whipped the aud into a lather toward set’s end with “Celebrate,” a tune that bore more than a passing resemblance to the Jane’s classic “Mountain Song” and left the impression that the party has just begun for his latest incarnation.

Satellite Party

Highline Ballroom, New York; 700 capacity; $35


Presented by Live Nation. Reviewed June 4, 2007.


Band: Perry Farrell, Nuno Bettencourt, Carl Restivo, Kevin Figuerido.
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