Plenty of frontmen have been criticized for giving robotic performances, but local singer Mark Mallman took it to exaggerated lengths Sunday night at Icehouse.
Performing from a warehouse 6.4 miles away in Northeast, Mallman transmitted his vocals and aviator shades to a BeamPro robot (the roving iPad rig made famous by Edward Snowden's March 2014 TED Talk and mocked in the recent Modern Family finale "American Skyper"). In what was billed as a first-of-its kind remote robotic concert, the newly christened Mallborg belted three songs using the telepresence technology, with his band joining his robotic avatar live at Icehouse.
Here's a video of the singularity-approaching Mallman performing "Tell It to the Judge":
Despite the fact that Mallman was streaming into the show, the vocal quality is utterly lossless. His Skyped-in howl permeates the room like it was really his fleshy vessel afront the band. Of course, the implications of the performance are harrowing for any musician who assumed they'd never be replaced by machines. But for Mallman, this new robotic body brings the hope that he could top his already superhuman 78-hour performance record.