It's been three hours since I left Pianos, and I'm still pumped from the New York debut of U.K. lads The Automatic. There was a reason I out them on my list of U.K. bands to watch in 2007, these blokes can rock your ass off. They not only rocked my ass off, they rocked my cell phone from my pocket.
- By My Side
- On the Campaign Trail
- Seriously... I Hate You Guys
- Gold Digga
- You Shout You Shout You Shout
- That's What She Said
They played for maybe 30-35 minutes for 50-60 people, but damn did they give us their all. When I first heard on their singles "Raoul," I had feeling that the song would make the band exhausted. It has that 110% effort quality that drives the song to the end. Sure enough, the song just grabs you and never let's go. Tonight, the song was played second, I was tired just by looking at them. That song is a good sample of what they sound like, a lot of heavy guitar riffs, new wave/dance keyboards and some thrashing drums. Their music is unhinged and boundless, but they have a coheisiveness that you'll find appealing.
I didn't have to beg and plead, but they happily played "Gold Digga," which has been a staple of my mix CDs for friends and it tops on my IPOD for most played. You have to show much love for a song featuring the jazz flute. They turned a Kanye West over-produced and over-sampled recorded and turned into a rock anthem for the rock kids.
Most of their songs, as the band explained, are about disillusion with the system, especially radio for playing crap or bands that are mopey on stage. The one thing they would never call themselves is a "punk" band. The irony is that they'll be touring with a bunch of punk bands on the Warped Tour. Sorry, the Vans Warped Tour -- now if I only knew the HTML for trademark. Anyway, the kids will be exposed to some great music for a change and the band will be able to see America's best parking lots.
Their high energy performance reminds me of tour mates Forward, Russia!. Especially, when you look at keyboardists Alex Pennie, who's the balls and showman of the band. He spent most of the show on the floor swinging his mic chord around. Him and Tom Woodhead of Russia should exchange tips. What's more amazing is that most of the time he caught it and he never smacked anybody, including me. I dissed on Foreign Islands for being idiots on stage with their rock star antics, but The Automatic earned their right to knock the mic stand over and demand the crowd get into it. Like Tom from Russia, between songs, Alex was rather calm, and joked around.
I like the dueling personalities of Alex and lead singer Robin Hawkins. While Alex is a man unleashed who can do anything at any time, Robin keeps his aggression in check.
This being their New York debut (they played two sets this evening), it falls into one of my rules- a band's first U.S. or New York show will feature mostly record people in the audience. When Alex asked who paid tonight, me and about 3 others raised their hands. They understood that, but rocked the house anyway. Alex and lead singer Robin Hawkins still jumped on the floor and wailed on their instruments. Alex wasn't afraid to spit water over the crowd. That's who they are. This also meant that me and my crew were the only ones dancing.
Not Accepted Anywhere will get a proper U.S. release -- it's in the works.