...are there any other bands that go for that more complicated approach (without sounding like Sonic Youth), using various pedals or loopers or whatever tech in an effective way (as a live band) that you've been wow'ed by, rather than thought 'what the gay are you doing here'?
It takes a diligent approach to turn your sound over to a bunch of pedals and not have it sound retarded. You basically have to rebuild your playing vocabulary around the effects. Very few bands can pull this off, but Chrome, Head of David and the Kiwi band High Dependency Unit (HDU) come to mind immediately. All great.