Captured! By Robots @ The Cactus Club
April 23, 2010
Before the humiliation could get under
way Friday night, however, there was a set by The Demix, a project that
consists of one guy, a laptop and a couple of samplers. The sound is something
like industrial-tinged trip-hop, with detours into noisy drill ’n’ bass and
sci-fi atmospherics. Although he seemed to be taking his knob-twiddling very,
very seriously, the man behind The Demix had difficulty connecting with the
mostly disinterested audience, many of who used the time to patronize the bar.
The robots loomed at the back of the
stage covered by blankets, and by the time they were unveiled people had
crammed themselves into the club’s back room. The mechanical musicians looked
more like something built out of parts scavenged from a dumpster behind Chuck
E. Cheese than the sleek creations of postwar fantasies—but robots are robots,
and until we reach that glorious day when shiny automatons attend to our every
whim, seeing a bunch of them clanging away at instruments will remain something
to marvel at.
Alas, watching them play is much more fun than listening to them play. Most of the set consisted of jokey thrash metal numbers—robots, unsurprisingly, excel at double bass—about such things as getting stoned, Star Trek and how Glenn Beck is an asshole. There were also a handful of goofy covers like “Melt With You,” “Bridge Over Troubled Water” and “Hot, Hot, Hot.” Captured! By Robots couldn’t sustain its high concept—or indeed the audience’s full attention—for very long, but the novelty factor, and the expertly timed comedic banter between Vance and the foul-mouthed robots, made it well worth the price of admission.