Monday, October 12, 2009

Autolux at the Detroit Bar

Autolux continue to be a staple of my live reviews here at Amateur Chemist. I caught their show at the Detroit Bar earlier this year for OC Weekly and was blown away. I was fired up for a repeat sonic drubbing.

The Dabbers

I thought that mustache looked familiar. It belonged to Zach Wentz (Drums,Vocals) who was pounding away on his mini Gretsch drum kit while fronting The Dabbers. I remembered Zach from his stint in Kill Me Tomorrow. Shelby Gubba (Bass) was pretty in polka dots rocking a Epiphone Thunderbird bass muddied up by a Pro Co Rat distortion pedal.

"And I Was Like, And They Were All" crackled like an old tune coming from a transistor radio with Shelby adding background vocal harmonies to Zach's poem reading vocals. "Afraid of Catching" is another bass guided tune in a similar league of Death From Above 1979. The Dabbers received a pretty good response from the Detroit Bar. I wonder if this is a side project for Zach or a full time gig because it is tough to decide which band I prefer.

Mini Mansions
Mini Mansions continue to make waves. Ironically, I last caught up with them when they opened for Autolux at the Detroit Bar in April. Mini Mansions supported Autolux for the entire tour which definitely helped refine their set and improve their chemistry.

Mini Mansions worked through a few songs on their myspace page and even included an interesting cover of "Heart Of Glass". "Majik Marker" was the standout of the set with its skewed Beach Boys and Pink Floyd vibe. Mini Mansions recently scored another major gig opening for Them Crooked Vultures out on the East Coast. I will be keeping a close eye on their progress and you should too.


The wait for a new Autolux album continues to test the patience of their devoted fanbase. After hearing a bunch of new songs on this particular evening, I think the wait will be well worth it. A syncopated drum shuffle combined with the guitar wizardry of Greg Edwards started things off with the new song "Census". The familiar guitar howls of feedback for "Audience No. 2" from their pending album Transit Transit convinced me that Autolux never lets me down in the live performance department.

One might suspect that playing material from their first album must be bordering on tedious for Autolux. I was surprised to hear some new sonic twists during "Subzero Fun". Carla would add a little extra drum fill or Eugene would add a touch of bass feedback. I grew excited to see how Autolux would rework some of their older material. "Capital Kind Of Strain" and "Plantlife" oozed with buzzsaw fuzz guitars and Eugene's ethereal vocals lifting the tunes.

Carla would take on the vocal duties for "The Science of Imaginary Solutions" after Greg triggers the guitar loop that propels the song. "Kissproof" is another new song that will blow you away. Carla was crushing her drums while Eugene added a loopy bass line amongst the guitar washes of Greg. Autolux is simply on another level.

"Robots In The Garden" and "Blanket" were revisited from the past until Carla triggered her MPC for the oblique sounding "Highchair". The characteristic drum intro of "Turnstile Blues" garnered cheers from the adoring crowd as they closed out their main set. "Reappearing" and "Headless" were the encore selections that ended the evening with Greg turning up his amps to 10 to let the audience drown in feedback as a mini ode to My Bloody Valentine. I only hope that I have the new album in my hands before I see them again.

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