Live Show Review: Autosuggestion, Et al. @ Mabgate Bleach.
Before I talk about the gig, I think it’s important, to anyone not familiar with Mabgate Bleach as a venue, for me to explain my surroundings. Essentially, a closed off industrial park provided the back drop for the evening and as much as you may have your own judgements as to how that sounds it was a… new experience to constantly have a feeling that everyone there had just broken in, set up some amps and staged a gorilla show. That’s just what Mabgate Bleach is though, admittedly I had never been before but its infectious Do It Your Fucking Self aura oozes from every corner. Whether it’s the unplugged glue guns on top of amps as you walk in, the hammers laid out next to the band merch or the lone disco ball that is so out of place in the main room that it fits perfectly, it’s pretty indescribable just how charming this venue is. In fact, in between sets early on in the night I was sat with a friend rolling a cigarette and asked her when the next band was on; “Well, it’s Mabgate Bleach, things aren’t running on time.” Never has something so simple summed up a venue so nicely. But enough about the where, all that really matters are the who and the how.
Headliners Autosuggestion offered an intriguing mix of equal parts Joy Division and My Bloody Valentine with their own, specific Northern twang that creates enough originality to avoid what could easily be a messy mix of two pretty worn-out styles of post punk. They had the crowd where they wanted them throughout the set, apart from at the start when the event organiser had to come out to the smoking shelter and round up idle, would-be crowd members, something I hadn’t seen since my days as an (embarrassingly shocking) band member myself. In fact, the way in which every band seemed to have a relationship with a lot of the people in the crowd gave the night a communal charm and energy that would’ve been hard to reproduce without it. Of course, it makes it hard to predict how scalable the whole operation is when you’re operating at an “I’m here because I know x” level but to be honest, I don’t give a fuck about scalability, it was a breath of fresh air to be at such an insular gig, orchestrated by Autosuggestion, a band well in their stride.
However, despite their admirable performance, my personal highlight of the night was chief support Pleasure Centre. Their energy was nothing short of infectious and epitomised the entire evening for me. Unfortunately, they currently only have a handful of singles out so since the gig I have been struggling to get my fix but believe me when I say their whole set was momentous. It really did feel like it could’ve been in front of 1,000 people, the 70 or so people that just so happened to be in the room should count themselves lucky, I know I did, it almost felt like robbery. Overall, the musical acts that I caught were all great, especially considering I really had no prior knowledge of any of them going into it (I was there because I knew x). It’s always great to see a group of people sharing a passion for music, especially when everyone’s efforts can come together and create a night like the one I witnessed at Mabgate Bleach. There is no doubt in my mind that the other night won’t be the last I hear from the bands that I saw. With more events, I’m sure, being planned by the people behind the show, Drab Mag, whether they stay local to Leeds or begin to branch out, when it comes to northern post-punk one thing is certain, something wicked this way comes.