Bocking Street Warehouse is exactly the kind of place you want to see a band like AUTECHRE. Closing off their European tour following the release of ‘Oversteps’, their tenth album, how could they play anywhere else but a fully industrial setting, with no lights and a very good PA?
Autechre came onstage about 1.30am, and opened up with a lopsided stomping two-step that gradually sped up, flanked by a thunderous bass line. Gradually, the patterns became more intricate and bizarre, which a good portion of the crowd loved, but delightfully there were quite a few people who were clearly baffled. This baffling quality is what I’ve always loved about Autechre. I was initially expecting more of their ambient work, but what they were playing bore no similarity to their recorded material, and it only began to make more sense when I managed to get up to the front and realised that Rob Brown and Sean Booth were playing an intense game of call and response, throwing each other pieces of information, reinterpreting it and sending it back. This revelation unlocked the concert for me, and I began to sink in.
After a thundering hour and a half, and an abrupt encore, they bowed out, leaving us with Rob Hall and leaving me shell shocked. I have rarely thought so much at a concert, sort of like forcible meditation, totally enveloped in sound. Wonderful band, wonderful venue. Very impressive.