with Maudlin, Autarx
Uncle Lou’s; Orlando, FL • August 9, 2016
by Jen Cray
What I know about the current Goth scene, I can count on one black leather glove-less hand. Still, promise me a night of 80’s reminiscent dark wave and goth flavored punk, and I’m gonna show up. So it was that on a dark and muggy night, as the clock approached midnight, that I found myself embraced by the cemetery sounds of three bands with three very different approaches to the mysterious subgenre of Goth.
With teeth bared and a growl in frontwoman Sarah Patricia’s eyes, Autarx attack with little regard for anything other than annihilating the room. The Orlando band approach the darkwave genre with such a punk rock aesthetic as to render any apparent influences meaningless. There’s an intensity to their set, and a fire in their attitude, lacking in most bands with 10 times the experience, perhaps because their members have been at this game for years. Sarah also heads up local punks Manic & the Depressives, and guitarist Sam Johnson is a well known veteran in the punk world, currently in Dead to Me and previously of New Mexican Disaster Squad.
A band named Maudlin would imply some morose brooding, some candlelit depression. Especially when the frontwoman has makeup from the Siouxie Sioux school of glamour, and is wearing a black halter top and ripped up lace. The post-punk, dancey darkness that rocks forth is a welcome surprise, and suddenly it didn’t feel like 2016 anymore. I looked around at the asymmetrical haircuts, black eye makeup, and spikey accessories and I felt like I was living inside of a Jenny Lens photograph (look her up).
When Pawns began to play, the feeling only intensified. Vocally, Gage Allison packs a baritone deeper than Peter Murphy and musically, the band recalls a Sisters of Mercy vibe. Yet the energy, and the provocative sneers and often spit-out vocals of Allison are all gutter punk, baby. His stare is vacant, his poses are dramatic, and his leaps into the air are entirely unexpected for a band steeped in goth. I don’t know whether to mosh, or dance – Pawns’ sound falls somewhere in between.
All of these bands have a definitive look, and a preconceived style which is refreshing as hell in an age where most bands make the slacker indie look of the 90’s seem like high fashion. There’s something to be said about creating a whole narrative around your band, and these bands do it with supreme confidence.