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CMJ Music Marathon: The Bots At Pianos, Thursday. October 17th, 2013, Reviewed

The Brothers Lei Punk Rock Stars

The Bots Mikaiah Lei is having problems with the sound on the guitar and neither the soundcheck guy nor the guitar tech is fixing it to his satisfaction. He keeps on saying “it’s OK, it’s OK” and then going back and trying to get the sound right. The result was a 20 minute delay in the afternoon show and I missed most of it because I had to rush back to work.

By the look on his face, Mikaiah didn’t have the sound where he wanted it by the band time I left after “Dinosaur” but I am not sure what he was worried about. The Californian brothers, Anaiah Lei plays drums, get compared to the Black Keys and the white Stripes but surely they mean Jeff The Brotherhood, this is loud fast rock and roll punk with no blues I can hear.

Playing songs off their current Sincerely Sorry EP, where the sound they’ve been going for since Anaaiah was 12 years old back in 2009 is absolutely perfected, the first two songs of the set are brilliant sound strangulations, “5:17”, essential a riff repeated over and over again, but a great riff. Mikaiah’s mic ism’t working for this one, so it becomes an instrumental and is all the better for it. And better still, “I Like Your Style” which starts like Hendrix before punking it out with a “I don’t wanna be like you” singalong in waiting.

Sometimes Mikiaiah bangs on a keyboard (also not loud enough) and he storms the stage while his brother, sporting a badass Afro, four to the floors anything that moves. The audience, for a 1pm gig mind, is a mix of industry types, photographers and college kids. Not unimpressive but five years into the Bots they are on the cusp of their 20s and doing better than ever. On Wednesday they opened for A$AP Bot and Scholly Q and Thursday they did themselves only favors, next year they’ll be headlining Bowery Ballroom with Joanna Gruesome.

Grade: B+

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