February 16, 2005 Ė Neumos Ė Seattle, WA
by Ashley Graham
Sometimes, when you least expect it, you end up getting your moneyís worth from just the opening bands at a show. And if youíre heading out to The Secret Machinesí tour with Autolux and Moving Units, such an occasion is bound to arise.
On a stage adorned in strings of white lights and surrounded by a darkened venue, Autolux create a sound so united in its delivery it nearly knocks you over with its power. Equal parts bass, drums, guitar and vocals, Autolux is offering something different. Carla Azar on drums hardly ever looks up, her tiny frame seeming impossibly matched against the massive drums around her and yet she manages to control them. Guitarist Greg Edwards gets lost on his side of the small stage. Lead singer and bassist Eugene Goreshter stands somber at the mic, his vocals barely audible but managing an overwhelming presence in the culminating sound.
While each of them look like just another boring hipster you might see wandering around the local record shop, the members of Autolux are delivering on a different level than most of the bands that surround them in their given genre. Their performances are solid, their sound is incredible, and the overall is something to be seen and heard time and time again. This isnít necessarily music that people know what to do with, the crowd is nearly motionless while they play, but in this case that isnít as much a detraction as it is a compliment to their quality.
That quality is less of an issue when it comes to Moving Units, whose focus instead comes more in the form of entertainment. Charged with spontaneity, Moving Unitsí set is nothing if not ridiculously fun. The crowd near the stage emerges from the mesmerizing sound and resultant inactivity implemented by Autolux into fast moving, arms flailing dance. Lead singer and guitarist Blake Miller incites energy, even though his vocals are nearly impossible to make out. He is constantly moving, constantly playing, constantly singing. He is the definite stage performer in this band, complemented nicely by stationery bassist Johan Boegli and drummer Chris Hathwell, a showman unfortunately hidden behind his given instrument.
Sure, it would be nice to make out the words to your favorite Moving Units songs throughout the set, but itís also important to maintain the same level of energy and excitement that is contained on their debut LP Dangerous Dreams, and Moving Units more than excels at that. The sweat that drips from Millerís hairline by the end of the set is the perfect indicator of the work that goes into this performance; constant activity, non-stop music, and never-ending fun. With all that they manage to include, who can fault them if one little pesky element like vocal clarity starts to slip? By the end of their infectiously entertaining set, you may very well forget there were ever even supposed to be vocals in the first place.