I saw Autolux last Friday. You didn't. Tickets were only fourteen dollars at the door. What the fuck is wrong with you?
Remember Autolux? They were that shoegazy rock band from California that released their debut album called Future Perfect back in 2004. Their moderate radio hit "Here Comes Everybody" kicked around WFNX for a whole summer back in 2005. Not ringing any bells? Maybe it would have something to do with them not having a new album out for six years. Yeah that's right, they just recently released their new album Transit Transit to a #1 seller ranking on iTunes on the week of its arrival. How do you like those particular apples?
Along with a new album comes a new tour. Now, I had already seen them play last September at the Paradise and asked their frontman Eugene when the new album was coming out. His response was early 2010 (this did not happen obviously) because they were currently without a label. Since then, TBD Records picked up the ten track sophomore album and released it to critical acclaim. It's a well-rounded and refined album that pleases the hungry fans who haven't moved on (and if you're like me, got their high school and college diplomas in the time it took them to release a follow-up) and expected nothing less than a brilliant companion piece to Autolux's first audio excursion.
The show began around 9:00pm with a local band. The Boston-based band Dirty Dishes (a band I'd seen at the House of Blues recently) was the first opening act of the night. To me, it was another solid high energy performance that hopefully earned them some new fans. The song "Stolen Apples" was the highlight of their set to me. It has this chunky peanut butter sound (no I'm not hungry) to it with frontwoman Jenny Tuite's smooth voice blanketing over crunchy, distorted guitars to make a sweet hard rock song. All food metaphors aside, Dirty Dishes are going places for sure if they keep performing to this caliber.
This Will Destroy You appeared on the stage around 10:30pm and brought the doom and gloom into the venue. Their lyricless, ambient, lengthy tracks swelled and exploded and had fans and spectators hypnotized. My friend described their sound as "the type of music you hear at the end of 28 Days Later or something." Although it lacks highbrow eloquence, I'd have to agree with this statement. This Will Destroy You make some fucking epic tunes that beg to be slapped on a movie soundtrack for that climactic ending theme. Give them a listen. They lack lyrics, but get their point across without words.
Autolux came on the stage about five minutes before midnight. They were late for their soundcheck because of traffic on the way back from New York where they had done an interview earlier in the day. The crowd was restless to say the least at this point, but quickly hushed and became absorbed in the slow song, "The Science of Imaginary Solutions," (a new track off of Transit Transit) sung by their drummer Carla. From there on they kept the new tracks coming, blasting the audience's cobwebs away with songs like "Census" and the internet hit "Audience No. 2" to album-like perfection. Each track was slightly extended by the band's tendency to improvise and jam a little off of each other at solo points and endings of their songs. This sweetened the pot a bit for me, a long time fan of the older stuff, because it put a little twist on those tracks which are more familiar to me.
Eventually "Turnstile Blues" was played at the halfway point. This is where I witnessed how the band can play these older songs with ease and masterful precision of their instruments. Among the screeching distortions and rumbling drums, there is this piercing clarity and polish to the sounds of these well-known tracks that makes you forget this is a band that JUST released their second album, yet sound like they have had a large discography because of their clear wealth of music playing experience. Various keyboards and synths were used periodically, most notably during my current favorite new song "Highchair" which sounds like Radiohead meets Clinic meets Massive Attack...and that is a really good thing. This track was unfortunately played much too late to gather what was left of the crowd's energy since it was nearing 1:00am which is a shame since it is a highly danceable new song that I feel stands out significantly on the new album and would be a worthy radio single. It shows the band has tremendous range beyond the trademark frantic rock they are known for.
My recording of Highchair from the show.
The trio of Autolux gave the Middle East a hell of a show on this night, proving that good things come to those who wait in terms of their album and, ironically, their performance. My knees felt locked up, ears were completely shot to hell, and I was rather thirsty at the end of the night (1:30am), but my Autolux itch had been thoroughly scratched. Eugene and Carla thanked the audience for sticking around so late multiple times before exiting the stage. My answer to them is, "No problem guys," because they don't disappoint in one aspect of what they do. This is why I will continue to see this band live. I will continue to wait x-amount of years until their next album. I will continue to stand and wait 40 minutes for them to set up all of their equipment before they send me to another sonic dimension. I saw Autolux last Friday. Why didn't you?
HERE IS A LINK TO THE CONCERT FOOTAGE PLAYLIST: Autolux @ The Middle East August 27th, 2010