Saturday, July 23, 2016

Autolux, July 23, 2016 at the El Rey

There was a time when it seemed like Autolux were everywhere. Their management was wise enough to put them in every festival just when that was becoming a thing in the summer of ‘05, though that they were playing so close to their home turf in SoCal seemed to be capitalizing on what they already had. Then opening for NIN & QOTSA at the Hollywood Bowl, which was an accomplishment for a young band, even if the members had been in other bands that had deserved to go farther than they did. So the group was in front of a lot of fans and they made a name with a great debut album, then they disappeared, and for a while. This isn’t the place for that story, but they were missed, gone before they really started going (or getting night slots), a band that fit because they didn’t really fit. But everything eventually comes back and they finally made another album, Transit Transit, which might as well have been as good as the first, then the attendant tour, though taking their time again, now six years later. They also weren’t doing all the festivals, maybe since they didn’t want to play that grind again. This is a band that has gotten by with doing whatever they want, even if that meant they weren’t such an ongoing presence. So, with only two albums worth of solid material 11 years after they first made a splash, their hometown show at least got the El Rey, a mid-range venue that says you’re neither doing as great (like at the Wiltern) or as poor (smaller) as you could be in front of your own people. As much as I enjoy their material, I might not have considered the show but my buddy Josh had to bail on his plans and he contacted me to take his tickets and we were free that night (even though I was just coming back from San Diego from the comic convention, literally going from the train station to Wilshire (but including dinner across the street first (then getting to the show just in time))). For this show the band at least got a sound-check and could work out any kinks beforehand. They also had an enclosed space they could manipulate to their ends, creating a tunnel that wrapped everyone in sound and darkness (which still worked, and without all the dust in the air and pressed up against bodies I didn't know). Then they had some abstract, grid-based visuals behind them, as if they needed to play up the math-rock artiness of their songs. They didn’t change the music so much, staying tight to accommodate the three-person set-up they carried into a live setting, though some differences could have been welcome just to give variety to the limited amount of material they had, especially to evolve after all this time. So, a good show, without having to be packed in under a tent in the middle of the afternoon heat.

“Soft Scene“
“Hamster Suite“
“Junk For Code“
“Subzero Fun“
“Audience No. 2“
“Capital Kind of Strain“
“Listen to The Order
“Turnstile Blues“

“The Science of Imaginary Solutions“
“Change My Head“

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