By Graeme Wiggins
Carpenter Brut are at the forefront of the synthwave/outrun scene; they are probably the biggest crossover act the genre has. Given that the genre (and band) kind of sound like the kind of music you would have found in one of those sit in driving arcade games from the late eighties it’s not surprising that the crowd ran a little nerdy. Conversations overheard in the lineup outside included obscure arcade bootlegs, and favourite anime.
Once show time drew closer, the venue filled up with a more diverse group but all seemed like die-hard fans and Carpenter Brut gave them exactly what they wanted: a hardcore light and video show soundtracked by throbbing electro beats and awash in eighties synth.
Musically, they were super tight. The guitar featured more prominently live than it does on record, giving the show more of a rock feel than a typical synthwave vibe. Their set played a mix of old and new, with the new stuff cranked a little faster, minimizing the more proggy feel of their latest record “Leather Teeth”. They very rarely slowed down, and the crowd ate it up, with even some crowd surfing.
Visually the show was intense, with a hypnotic light show and a video screen behind the band featuring a series of cult movies, satanic imagery, lyrics, and a whole lot of branding. Projecting old horror movies and exploitation flicks is not super new in music performance but theirs was notable in its editing and pacing. There was something oddly discomfiting about the sheer amount of sexual violence being displayed behind three dudes playing loud intense music and an audience dancing along; it seemed a little grotesquely titillating but the crowd lapped it up.