|Photos - Robin Chamberlain|
A positively autumnal night and the Brudenell was the setting for Autobahn's northern leg of their debut album release celebrations, having launched in London the previous evening.
With a yelping guitar and perfectly paired gutteral screech of vocals, first support came from G G Glitter; an exuberant onslaught of noise that started proceedings off in just the right way. Second up were Chaika. Seemingly musically mismatched with the other acts on the bill and slightly awkward looking on stage, their seventies psych throwback tracks blended into one and were instantly forgettable. It was left then to Sievehead to warm the crowd up; and they managed that in style. Like a really late Ramones just as it all began to go wrong, somehow, with an affable charm, they manage to make the glam-punk vibe work for them and for us.
And so to the main event. Often over disciplined and constricted on the new release, Autobahn were captivating and infinitely watchable in the live arena. The tightly wound coil they are on record is allowed to unfurl; a brooding snarl of sound that pulsed out over the crowd, until it gradually spilled over, saturating every dark corner with earnest emotion. Early in the set, A Beautiful Place To Die was exquisitely wretched in its delivery; a souped-up murder ballad that puts goosebumps on goosebumps.
Their performance bubbled over with sinister undertones of vitriol and bitterness that is simply absent from Dissemble, or at least not as well executed. Older EP tracks were, as is often the case, better received by the assembled masses, but Deprivation went down well, possibly by virtue of being closest in sound to previous releases. Best track by far is Suicide Saturday, a twisting, driving rain of a song that eventually explodes into a crescendo of aural lightening that splinters the air. Slightly sooner than expected, it's all over, and they amble off stage before ambling back for an almost shambolic encore; the dark brooding stage personas temporarily gone and replaced with the reality of a gang of mates surviving the inevitable indulgences of touring.
A little worse for wear perhaps; the impression is that after the business of last night in London, this, their homecoming of sorts, is the pleasure angle, but the show is no less, and perhaps more, enjoyable for it. They seem comfortable with their performance in that professionalised way that only bands that have played with each other day in day out can be, but without making it seem a job they're going through the motions for. Autobahn thrive up on stage and are a joy to watch, their gloom-punk far better for the wide camera angle of voyeurism than the minutiae magnifying glass of record.
Words - Angi Strafford
Photos - Robin Chamberlain
Autobahn OfficialBrudenell Official