Los Angeles trio Automatic make their first trip to Glasgow amidst the pounding winds and rain of Storm Ciara, a far cry from their home state. Luckily the warm, intimate confines of the Flying Duck are packed to the rafters to see the recent signings to the cult Stones Throw Records.
Before Automatic take to the stage, drag queen Ruby Waters opens the show with their debut gig at The Pink Pound. Opening with ‘Validate Me’, it begins with a repeated Liza Minnelli sample from ‘Losing My Mind’, which Waters uses as a “comfort blanket” throughout the performance to help with nerves. Specialising in deep, disco beats and personal lyrics, there is obvious inspiration taken from the likes of the Pet Shop Boys and other 80s synth-pop masters. Waters has a brief glitch when she forgets to turn her bass amp during ‘Another Life’, but rather than letting it overcome the growing confidence, instead just laughs it off with quips in between verses. Ditching the bass for final song ‘New Reward’, Waters dances in the crowd and requests to “open this pit up” ending an entertaining and successful debut show.
Finally appearing onstage half an hour late due to a troublesome line check, the venue remains mobbed as Automatic take to the stage. The gremlins continue as the trio struggle through the opening few tracks, with the onstage monitors proving continuously problematic, and lead vocalist Izzy Gaudini foreboding voice is incomprehensible. Any momentum built through their excellent material is lost with constant stoppages between songs. It isn’t until almost halfway through the set when the issues begin to get resolved and pounding synths of ‘Champagne’ come alive, coupled perfectly with a bassline Peter Hook would be proud of.
There are elements of Suicide in the more fast-paced material performed tonight, with pure punk energy emanating from the stage with drummer Lola Dompé’s metronomic drumbeat keeping everything ticking along. After a drab ‘Humanoid’, the LA-natives drop an excellent cover of The Delta 5’s ‘Mind Your Own Business delivered with the same aloof vigour as the original. The biggest cheers of the night come during ‘Calling It’ as the gothic bass line reverberates through the floorboards, before Dompé takes lead vocal duties and gets the whole crowd dancing with an irresistible ‘Too Much Money’.
As the band leave with ‘Suicide In Texas’, you can’t help but feel for Automatic, who delivered a watertight set which was largely ruined by sound issues. When the issues were resolved, the Glaswegian crowd were treated to a fine set of synth-punk, delivered with an attitude to suit.
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