The Garage, Highbury

Aesthetic Perfection

After sitting in numerous traffic jams, and a long tube journey I managed to miss the majority of the opening act Biomechanimal, which was a shame as their hard-hitting EBM had the attention of the small crowd in front of them. With a sound described as harsh dance meeting industrial, this three-piece delivered that with ease. Even though I only caught the last few tracks the audience seemed to appreciate their beats as the distorted vocals were shouted out.

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Next up were DKAG, a trio providing a more trance-like EBM sound, and as hard hitting as their beats were, it almost became hypnotic as the computer generated landscape flowed across the video screen behind them. Adding to the club like atmosphere (no surprise considering their heritage) a number torches and glow sticks were out as the growing audience started dancing, and as each track hit the beats got harder and faster.

Now while watching three blokes on stage twiddly at their various synths, laptops and sequencers is not overly stimulating you could not help but move to the beats as their infectious rhythms hit home. Perhaps if Kraftwek had taken amphetamines?

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Next up are Shiv-R a two piece who deliver yet more hard hitting beats, but this time from a more electro-industrial vibe unlike the more club/trance sounds that just preceded. These were certainly a crowd favourite and responded well to requests for a show of hands. Describing themselves as Elegant Industrial, and there is certainly something they have nailed well as the lead singer left the stage into the space between the barrier and the stage to get up close and personal with the audience. As their set progressed the audience lapped up their music.

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…and on to tonight’s main attraction, Aesthetic Perfection, a long-time favourite of this reviewer, and no doubt the audience as the numbers visibly swelled, and while we did not get the chance to meet frontman Mr. Graves this time it was particularly exciting as his last release was an acoustic reworking of his own brand of Aggro-Tech and EBM as acoustic reworking on piano, double bass and guitar – a dramatic departure from his usual fare. However, tonight was purely a hard-edged aggressive EBM night.

Starting with the gentle openings piano work of “All Beauty Destroyed” a lone Mr. Graves walks onto the stage, and opens the headline act for the evening, soon the set explodes with the more aggressive tracks that won over the majority of the fan base from “A Violent Emotion” as he is joined by Tim Van Horn on drums, and Elliot Berlin on keys…and in short this sets the whole scene for the rest of the evening. With aesthetic Perfection feeding off the crowd’s energy, and the crowd feeding of the band – there have been very few gigs I have been to where everybody has given so much, either from performing or being enthralled by the performance.

There was slight breather as “Inhuman” rang out, another firm favourite, amongst a set-list that seemed to have nothing but crowd pleasers on it. While “Big Bad Wolf” had the crowd singing along, while Daniel was visibly energised by the crowdís reaction, and the reaction was tremendous as he bounded to and fro across the stage. Even a few days later writing up this review I am still buzzing from the gig.

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There is as much difference as commonality from the aggressive “A Violent Emotion” through to the more EBM/clubby “‘Til Death”, but the audience were just as happy screaming along to “Spit It Out”, as they were singing to the more clubby “Lights Out”. It was a superb blend of old and new, with a teaser of what is to come.

It is rarity to see such showmanship and pleasure from the band. This was reciprocated many fold by the audience who hung on every track. They only moment of calm was for a new track (sorry I didn’t catch the title!). This is the third time i have seen Aesthetic perfection, and their game seems to have been upped many fold. I cannot wait for the next tour, which I am hoping will head further South again.

When I spoke to Dan last year he said he hoped to visit the UK every year – let’s hope he returns to Southampton.


Words and picture by Jon.

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