It’s been a bazillion years since I last went to a gig…in fact, I think my last gig was the trial in patience that was We The Kings/You Me At Six at the Roundhouse. So needless to say I was quite looking forward to getting to see some live music again. Or I was, when Abbi reminded me that we did actually have a gig to go to, since I had entirely forgotten. Ah, life.
Anyway, point is, we went to see Head Automatica at The Garage last night. I was thrilled to finally be going to a gig in London that wasn’t in a stadium. Living the life, people! Apparently The Garage isn’t classed as a small venue here, but I thought it was by Sydney standards – imagine a Metro Theatre if you stitched the floor and the bar together, and took out the tiers. That was pretty much the size.
Ab’s had been researching the opening act prior to our arrival and we were not filled with confidence – they were called Worship and was classified as Doom Metal. We were afraid. Very afraid.
Completely needlessly however because it turned out Worship is rather brilliant. And really not doom metal-y at all. Their sound is quite different, definitely, but riveting. The lead singer has a voice reminiscent of Ville Valo, but entirely his own. The overall effect is heavy and melodic, with lots of electronic touches weaved throughout (according to the band's Facebook page the Guardian described it as "a sonic cathedral", so you know, there's that.) I think it’s actually the closest I’ve ever come to identifying the sound of our fictional band Evil Spacemonkey – the way we described their sound really sort of resembles what happened on stage last night. I'd recommend checking them out.
So, enthused by a decent opening act, we were looking forward to getting our upbeat dancing on with Head Automatica. Ha. Hahaha. What actually happened was the strangest gig I’ve ever been to. Mainly because they insisted on playing material no one had never heard of, and which sounded like it had been written under the careful supervision of the Spirit of Jazz, but also because Daryl Palumbo seemed to take offence that the audience wasn’t 'participating' enough. I’d go so far as to say he resented having to play old material. Except to us it’s not old material cause they haven’t released an album since 2006’s Popganda. So Daryl, while you may have written and recorded an album three years ago, it was never released, so you can’t expect us to know it, okay? You may also want to consider actually facing your audience a bit more while you’re performing. Just a thought.
People left the gig in droves. I’ve never quite seen anything like it. And then while some folks were diligently waiting it out, hoping that some old material may surface from beneath the unknown noise (not that the new stuff was bad, it’s just hard to engage with something live when you have no idea what’s going on and while new material at a gig can be brilliant, you don’t want the whole set to consist of it), they decided not to come back out for an encore. I imagine they were having some sort of band dispute backstage… that’s what I would have done (and let’s be thankful I am not in a band.)
The moments when they played songs we actually knew, it was pretty epic. The version of The Razor was fantastic, and while Beating Heart Baby was a bit different, it was still more listenable than most of the other stuff. That’s why it’s so disappointing that we couldn’t have more of that to balance out the new stuff. I really think the crowd would have been more engaged if it didn’t feel like such a spectacular act of self-indulgence.
Bizarre. That is really all that can be said about.
In other news, London crowds are much more respectful than Sydney crowds. No one shoved into me once without apologising. This is unheard of! But poor Abbi did get a shoe full of beer… I guess you can’t have it all.
Hey, that seems like a good way to sum up the Head Automatica performance – it was like getting a shoe full of beer. One moment, you’re blissfully unaware of any impending doom, the next you’re uncomfortable and just want to escape.
Perhaps not the best imagery anyone’s ever come up with, but I am tired, so it’ll have to do.
Music: Olympics, of course.