The Bots at Rough Trade NYC: Event Review

When brothers Anaiah (18) and Mikaiah (21) of the duo, The Bots, came on stage, Anaiah in a canary-yellow wind breaker and pink pants, and Mikaiah in a floppy sun hat and the type of silky cheetah print shirt that would ripple in the wind if a fan blew on him, we knew we were in for an experience. There, in the packed two floor venue of Rough Trade (full of die hard fans of The Preatures, I would later find out), The Bots played the first show of their Pink Palms tour, and they rocked it.

In a whirlwind, Anaiyah began with the drums on an unreleased instrumental song, and a huge smile spread across Mikaiah’s friendly face. With a feeling slightly reminiscent of seeing your favorite, extremely talented, middle school rock band succeed, the Bots’ live sound is universally fun. Dads, daughters, brothers, and moms could all go to this show together and leave feeling potentially very bonded.

Not even two minutes into the unreleased instrumental, and one of Anaiyah’s cymbals fell over; a little pained, he kept going like it didn’t happen. They continued their set with “Bad Friends,” a song that opens up with pleasant guitar riffs and a beautiful chorus, only to break down into a much harder sound.  Switching guitars before the song, two of Mikaiah’s guitar strings were flying in the air by the last chord. He played like it happens every time. It probably does.

After an eerie sound effect, the first song on their album, “Ubiquitous,” came roaring out of the duo with the sound of a five-man band. With high energy, Mikaiah was taking over the stage, going down to the ground, jumping and smiling. Dancing like a madwoman myself in the front row, I was surprised to look back and find herds of stiff bodies, making only subtle vertical head movements. I had never heard the Bots until last night, but I found it impossible not to throw my body around in some way. That’s what rock & roll does. Maybe they were in pure zone-out listening mode; maybe they were trying to behave. It was a Monday, after all. These people couldn’t have been from Brooklyn.

With an impressive set accented with inter planetary sound effects and many guitar pedal adjustments and additions, the Bots might have been one of the best bands I have ever seen live. Before the show, Anaiah was kind enough to offer me a Ritz cracker, and I asked the brothers what we should expect from the evening’s performance. They told me flat out: “Rock & Roll; and, with the audience’s participation or not, Rock & Roll is what we got.”