Review and Photos by Mike Bax
And now, the task at hand; attempting to describe a concert that was indescribably good.
Autolux is a Los Angeles three-piece alternative rock band comprised of Eugene Goreshter (lead vocals/bass), Greg Edwards (guitar/vocals) and Carla Azar (drums/vocals). The band is often lumped into the category of ‘shoegazer’ music because their ethereal material is not easy to categorize. While there are certainly elements of shoegazer to their material, their songs tend to drift between hazy, dreamy numbers to heady space-rock, complete with humming bass and lead guitars. The band has three albums to date, all released six years apart on three different labels. They are consummate musicians with a celebrity fan base any band would kill for. Greg Edwards is also the guitarist for Failure and Carla Azar has worked with Jack White, T-Bone Burnett, John Frusciante and PJ Harvey. Eugene Goreshter has done work with UNKLE and Nine Inch Nails. The band likely would wince at the term supergroup, but might accept the moniker of superb group. While both terms are somewhat accurate, the latter cannot be denied.
The three members of Autolux walked on stage to audience applause, took their positions on stage (Edwards to the left for guitars, keyboards and vocals; Azar center rear on drums and vocals and Goreshter to the right on bass and vocals) and got right to business. The band was bathed in red, yellow and orange lights for the majority of their performance, accented with stark video footage that was projected on the band and the screen behind them, resembling geometric patterns that could have been produced on an old Commodore 64. Azar detached the microphone from the mic stand, stood atop of her drum kit and delivered a stunning version of ‘Soft Scene’ to cheers of approval from the Toronto crowd.
Throughout the 14-song set list, fans were treated to a dizzying array of wonderful music – full of highly original drum technique, guitar work and bass guitar. While Autolux may not be ‘heavy’ in the more commonly known understanding of the term, anyone at Lee’s Palace on this night will attest that Autolux is a heavy band. Some of the dizzying guitar work ranked amongst some of the best and cleanest live presentations I’ve ever seen.
Watching Greg Edwards work is always a treat. His understanding of aural presentation never fails to amaze me, and this evening he was firing on all cylinders. He’s not a particularly emotive individual – the six times I’ve seen him live I don’t think I’ve ever seen him alter his facial expression. There were a few times during that show where he thrust his guitar aggressively into the speakers stacked behind him and layered in some perfectly controlled feedback over the song – and I’d like to think he was smiling. Most of the people in the audience sure were.
Carla Azar’s controlled drum work was utterly impressive, as was Eugene Goreshter’s bass work. There were numerous times that Goreshter flailed the neck of his bass about in a such a manner that you could hear his movements rolling through the song out to the audience. During the really noisy bit in ‘Turnstile Blues’, Goreshter waved his microphone an inch away from his guitar strings just up from the body of his guitar, utilizing the feedback he was creating in the most chaotically beautiful swirl of notes and fuzz I’ve heard in a long time.
Honestly, it’s shows like this that keep me excited about music. By the time the 65-minute set was over I wanted to drive to the next city Autolux was playing and see the entire performance again. It was as close to perfect an evening as I could have possibly hoped for.
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