Are You Coming With Us?

The Lo-Fidelity Allstars pose some dizzying musical questions with a riot of sounds and styles

However, he grudgingly admits that the high-profile inclusions have had their advantages, mainly in exposing mainstream audiences to their work.

"We performed on The Howard Stern Show. He's been playing 'Battle Flag' constantly for like the last month even though everybody kept saying, 'He doesn't like music,' and, 'Oh, he's known for hating music.' He invited us to play on the show, and that's only because he heard it in the Mod Squad soundtrack. He heard the song and absolutely loved it. So as long as it's getting across to a few people, it's not that bad, really."

One possible film project that the band is much more eager to be a part of is Man of the People, the Michael Mann-directed drama starring Al Pacino.

In addition to gaining a Hollywood cachet, the group has established a growing reputation as live performers as well. One standout performance was at this year's South by Southwest music conference (where the group was curiously out of place on a bill that included alt-country twangers the Old 97's and indie rockers Built to Spill). Their high-energy sonic and pyrotechnic show appeared to have the crowd both confused and entranced by what was going on. Ward says the chaotic environment is in part designed to shake up people's conventional notions about live performance.

"We're not bothered if people don't look at the stage. We swamp it in smoke and have all the lights going. They should be there to listen to the music, and it don't matter who's doing the vocals or whatever," says Ward. "I think it's good some people say, 'Oh, I couldn't even see who was up there.' Still, everybody up there gets into it. Like Andy [Dickinson] on the bass--he just goes mad. So in a way it's like having five different front men."

As they prepare to launch a highly anticipated national tour with Orbital and the Crystal Method, Ward is confident that the group's unique style will continue to find converts. On its last outing, the group went over surprisingly well in places like Alabama and Utah--not generally considered hotbeds for electronic music.

"It's weird. We've been to places we've never even heard of like Columbia [South Carolina], and it sold out three days in advance. Even in Pittsburgh we had an all-ages show at 8 in the evening, and it was filled up. The response just seems to be the same everywhere, and it's constantly surprising."

The Lo-Fidelity Allstars are scheduled to perform on Tuesday, July 20, at Club Rio in Tempe, with Orbital, and the Crystal Method. Showtime is 7 p.m.

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