Autechre Live @ Music Hall of Williamsburg (April 15)

This was easily the best tax day I’ve spent in a long time. Of course, I file months ahead of time to keep ahead of the voluntary taxation trainwrecking machine we call the Federal Government, but I am unusually paranoid about such things. Though I cast a very dim view toward the “tax amnesty” types and their scams/religious crusades, I do understand the crucible in which their fear/joyful mania is forged.

But onto the matter at hand:

I’d post a picture but they rightfully kept the joint dark last night. I thought about putting up a black square, but we all have better things to do with our time. Long story short, this is the most dancey, block-rockin’ beaty version of Autechre’s live show that I’ve seen since the late 90’s. If booty bass could do calculus, it would output shit like this. And good goddamn that bass was sort of painful, and not always in a good way.

What sums up the show better than anything else I could say is this simple fact: every time they laid down a beat people could actually figure out the rhythm to on the first few bars, the whole place cheered. That’s Autechre in a nutshell, for better and for worse; last night showed it’s mostly for better. An incredibly varied set – as varied as mathematical rump shakers can be, which is quite varied, frankly. I know many folk are all on the “Oh, they’re just pushing buttons!” or “Oh, they don’t do anything onstage!” but I have some points to make about that.

1) The first criticism is clearly the words of people who haven’t tried to do live sequencing lately.

2) Duh. Welcome to their entire career.

Not every show has to be about the monkeys on stage entertaining us with their antics. Frankly, and perhaps I say this only as someone who has never, ever been to a venue where he couldn’t see the performers, but I go to hear music, not watch music. Unless someone is doing something crazy or is incredibly fun to watch – Steve Austin, heya! – for the most part bands are bands and they do their banding with band-like regularity. I go see Autechre to hear what dancehall producers would do if they stopped writing songs about murdering homosexuals with machetes and the pros and cons of women with “juicy booty” and instead wrote songs about arc welding and long division.

The crowd was a bit pushy, but such is the nature of Slut’s Hole, Brooklyn. The dude with the MMA gloves and the special forces hat gets a pass, though, because he’s clearly some kinda crimefighter/secret agent.

The new album, Quaristice? If you didn’t like the last two excursions into abstraction you will most likely dig on parts of this quite hard. The opening and closing tracks are incredibly beautiful, and it feels like their legendary monomania was focused more on the songs than on the little bits throughout.

A few people have asked that I do an Autechre guide along the lines of the Venetian Snares bit I wrote a while back. I will probably indulge them shortly, even though it’s all been said a million times before.

A final note: this venue is much nicer and far louder than Northsix was. On the other hand, will the loss of the bleacher style seating make the hippie stank better or worse at next month’s A Silver Mt. Zion show? Though it sounds like a bad joke, it was absolutely fucking horrendous last time, really. And it was a hot day too so they’d been stewing in lord knows what juices for far too long.


Filed under music

2 responses to “Autechre Live @ Music Hall of Williamsburg (April 15)

  1. simplicio

    Y’know they just moved the bleachers upstairs, right? That place is the obese offspring of Bowery Ballroom and Northsix, but I like it well enough. Great sound, as can be expected from the Bowery folks (at least it’s them taking over the city’s music venues and not the Irving Plaza dorks, right?). Stay in the middle of the room away from the banisters and the hippy smell should be alright.

  2. durn. apparently bleachers are a hard thing to give up.

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