Last Monday, Automatic had a second night of residency at the Echo, with this time, three punk and post-punk bands, C57BL/6, Terminal A and Egrets on Ergot
C57BL/6 designs the common inbred strain of mouse used in laboratories, which already tells us a lot about the alienation found in the band’s music. Of course, they are completely inexistent on any social media, keeping the experiment ultra-secret everywhere, even on their Bandcamp page, which simply describes them as ‘alcoholic-related hearing loss’… Their dense industrial punk could probably have been perceived as some lab experiment, dominated by distorted synth and aggressive electronica with a singer spitting his hateful scream in the mic during their either very short or long songs – the shortest track must have only lasted 15 or 20 seconds… There was some variation in the anger and distress, but overall their set was a collection of futuristic and cold punk-synth resentment with heavy shades of hardcore and propulsive moments, meant to empower the most dispirited lab mouse.
Terminal A was a wild duo, with singer Colin Peterson constantly throwing himself in the middle of the crowd, in an intense existentialist-crisis moment, leaving guitarist Lee Busch alone on stage the entire time… Actually, I should say that Busch joined the riot party a few times, and ‘party’ is a weak term to describe the moshing dance that then followed, over a very dark goth-punk soundtrack. The guitar didn’t sound like a normal guitar, and the backing tracks were amplifying the punk-post-punk vibe, while the scene was turning as violent as a hardcore pit, or as weird as the experimentalists of the past – Terminal A has been compared to Suicide and The Screamers. Peterson, who was wearing heavy eyeliner, was introducing each one of their songs with a bizarre monologue, a semi-intelligible discourse with a hefty dose of angst, wired to captivate the attention of the crowd. Without waiting for a second, he was launching another of his visceral performances, which could have been described as a punk ballet, or an acrobatic dance where debauchery met harsh beauty.
I am really getting used to Automatic’s beats-and-synth music and the three-girls trio, recently signed to Stones Throw Records, sounded really good with that same repetitive synthpunk/gothic/krautrock vibe and cold delivery. They were slick and precise, especially Lola Dompè, whose drumming was as steady as a mechanical clock, while they pretty much did the same well-oiled set than last week, getting into a more rapid dance-synth mode during a few songs. If front girl Izzy Glaudini was still on synth and Halle Saxon Gaines on bass, they were all singing at times, while gaining more fans at each night of their residency. Last Monday, a good-size crowd was digging Automatic’s multi-influenced post-punk brew which seems to be catching more character, poppy hooks and sweet harmonies at each listening.
Egrets on Ergot, a band I have seen numerous times, closed the long night with their signature cacophonic post-punk deathrock. They are the kings of the underground and you can count on them to install apocalyptic chaos like no other act, screaming and tearing the venue apart with weirdness and distortion. More than ever, Adam Brooks was incarnating this menacing thin creature climbing and jumping everywhere while preaching an urgent malaise and injecting his sax lines into this horror punk mayhem. Their frenzy of assaults, their circus fanfare of fierce accelerations, and insane changes of tempo could have kept anyone awake and fully alert all night long, but it was already very late when they left the stage, leaving the crowd exhausted by proxy after their ultra physical performance.
There are still two Automatic nights of residency at the Echo, do not miss them!
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