Luke’s Alphabet Tour – A: Austin TV at Kentish Town Bull and Gate – 12th January 2012

By on Monday, 16th January 2012 at 2:00 pm

The first post of my Alphabet Tour. Letter A is Austin TV

A certain breed of band has been popping up at festivals and your favourite venues across the UK in the past year, performers who have shunned the conventions of a vocalist and convey their messages through the music alone. Known as post-rock, some of the biggest names include 65DaysOfStatic and And So I Watch You From Afar, but it’s not just British bands that are pushing the scene forward.

Austin TV are one of the hottest properties in Mexico and South America, who have been making a name for themselves at Coachella, SXSW, Manifest and many others on the other side of the world. Tonight though, they’re out of their comfort zone as they’re playing London for the first time in their 11-year career. Taking to the stage at the Bull and Gate in Kentish Town after a fairly standard performance from Jonny Dog, it’s make or break time for the experimentalists.

Shrouded in complete darkness, the uniformed quintet walk on stage. Looking like Martian cub scouts, London welcomes Austin TV with open arms and a quizzical gaze. ‘Frontman’ Oiram says the odd outfits and masks are because it’s your soul and not your face that’s important – a statement that resonates with the 100-or-so crowd.

Opener ‘Despierta Wendy’ (literally translated as “Wake Up Wendy”) starts slow and toned down on acoustic guitars before elevating into something bigger that you can’t help but get wrapped up in. Austin TV don’t just create music, they create soundscapes. Huge guitar melodies counterbalanced with eerie synth effects build up and up throughout the night, sucking the entire crowd into the psyche of the band on stage as their thoughts and feelings are expressed through music alone.

Despite Austin TV having a minimal stature in the UK, there’s a definite Mexican contingent in the audience. The band appear genuinely gratified and warmed by their reception at their first-ever London show and step it up a gear by throwing themselves around the stage. The performance really comes to life, though, when Austin TV’s masks illuminate. The strobe lights kick in and the erratic dance moves come out to play as the masked musicians glow like floodlit aliens, thrashing on instruments.

Even though Austin TV have never played England’s capital before, you can’t tell from tonight’s performance. Never showing any signs of nerves, it’s like they’ve played the venue a hundred times and are planning on another hundred before the year is out. An hour and a half of experimentalism and instrumentals still leave the crowd begging for more as the night draws to a close. Hopefully word will spread after tonight’s outstanding show and the next time Mexico City’s finest progressive post-rockers cross the pond, it’ll be a full UK tour. They deserve it.

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2 Responses

[…] 12:00 pm/**//**/ I interviewed the Mexican post-rock maestros Austin TV shortly before their headline performance at Bull and Gate, Kentish Town, London. Read on about the inspiration for their costumes, comparing the Mexican and British music scenes […]

11:31 pm
11th September 2013

[…] The beams of sharp, white light emitting from their headdresses sliced through the blur of strobes and intense neon that formed the backdrop of this show. It was easy to lose yourself and suddenly emerge in a tropical martian landscape; being led on a fantastical yet somehow ominous journey by this flock of little green men. Here’s Luke’s take on proceedings. […]

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