Live Review – Carpenter Brut

St. Luke’s – 20/01

The gathering of hipsters and metalheads in a converted church building sounds like something out of this world, but then that’s what Carpenter Brut’s music itself is like – he’s one of the most compelling electronic/synthwave musicians to emerge in a while, and not least because he draws influence from horror.

The purple glow of the organ behind the stage and the disco ball hanging from the ceiling therefore couldn’t be more appropriate. Local band The Van Dammage provide entertainment for a while, but it’s the headline act and his live guitarist and drummer that really brings out the crowd’s passion. And they do not disappoint – diving headfirst into the haunting atmosphere of ‘Escape From Midwich Valley’, you find yourself feeling as though you are part of a cult. Well-known hits like ‘Roller Mobster’ and ‘Turbo Killer’ then turn the same space into an ecstatic rave, while the bridge in ‘Run, Sally, Run!” conjures up tribal trance vibes and ‘Disco Zombi Italia’ takes you time-travelling back to a retro dancefloor.

In short, elements of rock, metal, horror, industrial and funk combine through the almighty bass of dubstep and an 80s nostalgia, displaying an impressive range of sounds all rolled into one relentless rollercoaster ride. Each track truly takes on a life of its own, and this effect is further heightened as scenes from classic horror, sci-fi and action films play out on a screen, creating a genuinely gripping cinematic power. It’s impossible not to love every minute of the sheer thrill of it all.

Frustratingly, the only aspect that taints the overall experience is the violent misogyny depicted in some of the on-screen horror sections. Even so, seeing people have the time of their lives moshing and crowd-surfing to a cover of ‘Maniac’ isn’t a sight that’s easily forgotten.

[Anni Payne]

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