It’s one thing to get rambunctious onstage and ask the crowd to sing along. It’s another thing to break your ankle, push your roadie, and actually give the mic to the guy in the front row. That said, the Bowery Ballroom might not have been packed for last night’s (July 26) Automatic Automatic show, but synth-player/vocalist Alex Pennie performed as if it most definitely was.
Virtual unknowns in the States, the screamo punkers from Cardiff have a massive hit on their hands with “Monster” back home, yet they managed to garner enough stateside buzz to land a spot on the Warped Tour this summer. Last night’s gig was their first show off the tour. “It’s nice to play with air conditioning,” remarked Pennie. Bassist/lead singer Rob Hawkins added, “and walls.” But the confines of the venue could not hold Pennie for long. Throughout the band’s energetic set, he jumped, flailed, spun and ripped his way across the stage, frequently hopping off to sing straight to the crowd. (Imagine a sweaty, manic frontman singing directly into your face — one girl was so petrified she backed up into a crowd of people.) It’s quite easy to imagine the crowd surfing that goes on at Automatic shows in the U.K. — if Pennie had enough bodies to surf, he would have been on them. Singles “Raoul” and “Recover” were on point, but Pennie was absent during “Monster” and one other song — during the set he injured his ankle by jumping off a speaker. He returned to shout a punk-y cover of Kanye West’s “Golddigger” and finish the rest of the show. Not to be forgotten, Philadelphia new wavers Liam and Me played the earlier set, cranking out radio-ready numbers such as “Don’t Say a Word” and “There’s A Difference.” Panic! At the Disco and Young Love take note: you’ve got some competition.
We asked: Due to copyright reasons, the Automatic had to change its name to the Automatic Automatic in the States. If you had to change your name for copyright reasons, what would you change it to?