March 4, 2013

SHOW REVIEW: Umberto / Mechanimal

I've been a huge UMBERTO fan ever since I did that piece about carpentercore and I was super stoked to find out he would be performing live in the little corner of the world I live in right now. So last Friday, after spending the whole day eating souvlaki, drinking beer and chillin' in the sun, I put on a hipsterish shirt, my favorite jeans, grabbed my iPod and sailed off into the night, ready to live inside an old horror movie for a few hours.

I showed up at the venue at nine thirty, just like the poster said, only to find out the place was deserted. Turns out the tickets aren't ready yet or something, so yadda yadda yadda, come back later. I was a little bummed, but a small delay was better than having the show cancelled for whatever reason, which I had feared was the case.

So instead of waiting outside in the cold like an animal, I decided to check out a promising looking metal bar I had passed by on the way over, about 10 minutes away from the club. Its windows were covered in a sticky wallpaper featuring skulls so I wondered if maybe it was actually a tattoo parlor, but whatever, I tried the door anyway. As it opened, I saw a rather small rectangular room, with a long bar on the left side and the right wall covered in concert posters. Death metal was blasting out of every speaker and there was a painted Lemmy icon on the wall, so I knew I had come to the right place. Turns out, it was actually the bar/clubhouse of the local motorcycle gang and they were pretty cool guys. I had a nice Greek microbrewed beer (indie as fuck!) and chatted with the bartender about Rotting Christ and various concerts and festivals they have in Greece.

But alas, I didn't want to miss the show, so after about an hour, I bid the MC'ers farewell and made my way back to the venue, which got pretty crowded in the mean time. I barely had time to get a drink, because Matt Hill got on the stage, fired up the laptop and the video projector and started doing his thing. I was surprised, because I thought Umberto would be the headliner, not the opening act. I'm not sure the audience knew him very well, either, because for half of his set, I was the only guy standing right near the stage, taking in the whole experience. And what an experience it was! I already knew his music had that delicious vintage synth vibe I love, but the video collage that ran during the set really tied everything together. It blended together cool scenes from a ton of well-known campy 70s/80s horror and thriller movies - Halloween, Final Destination, The Thing, Re-Animator, Begotten, Silence of the Lambs are just a few of the movies featured in the ever-changing projection. It really added a new layer of flavor to Umberto's retro horror-inspired soundtracks and, needless to say, I enjoyed the set immensely. I even chatted a bit with Matt Hill after he finished and the subject of John Carpenter and his movies came up in literally 2 seconds. He's a cool guy.

I was tempted to go home after Umberto's set and skip Mechanimal's show (I had to get up extra early for school), but I decided to stay after he told me he liked them and that they were really good. I didn't know what to expect when the three members of Mechanimal took the stage behind a guitar, a microphone and a keyboard rack, respectively, but I was kind of excited. What followed was a mix of theatrical poetry reciting, expansive ambient guitar soundscapes, vintage drum beats and weird/disturbing visuals which confused me at first, but got me sort of dancing after a while. Their songs were pretty damn catchy and I really enjoyed the show, even though I got pretty upset because of all the circus training/torture footage shown during the set. I fucking hate the circus.

All in all, it was a fantastic night and I'm really glad I had the chance to experience Umberto's sounds in a live setting. Below you can find some relevant Bandcamp links and some footage I shot during the show. Peace out!

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