American electronic band Aesthetic Perfection kicked off their UK tour this April at The Fleece. The show from start to finish was a showcase of talent, passion and genre, as attendees were immersed in the worlds of synthpop, industrial and electronica.
The show opened with supporting act Amelia Arsenic, whose industrial pop performance got the crowd warmed up, with throbbing bass and her characteristic vocals across tracks such as To Love Is To Destroy and T.H.I.R.S.T.Y. Unfortunately, her Australia-based band mates were absent, but Amelia Arsenic is a force to be reckoned with and her self-confessed anxiety did not show in her performance in the slightest.
MacBook in tow, she danced on stage and even jumped into the crowd to sing alongside fans to her track Concrete Heart. Her solo stage presence was extremely admirable, as was her kindness when she later made time to meet and greet fans. It is safe to say Amelia Arsenic’s thespian image and fun personality is unforgettable.
on-stage fog and Slipknot-style death masks contributed to Priest’s enigmatic and dramatic persona
Second supporting act Priest were next to make an entrance, with a heavy on-stage fog and Slipknot-style death masks contributing to their enigmatic and dramatic persona. They dominated the stage with a dark yet elegant demeanour, performing tracks The Pit and History in Black with an almost gothic distortion over their electronic techno.
The Swedish trio had a brilliant crowd response, with their song Obey – from their new EP of the same name – being well received. Once more, the heavy bass and synth style got the crowd moving. Their stage presence was amplified by their anonymity and front man, known as ‘Puppet Master’, entertained the front row by getting up close and personal to chant his lyrics with the enthusiastic admirers.
Their stage presence was amplified by their anonymity
Next, headliners Aesthetic Perfection took to the stage; leader Daniel Graves taking the mic, with drummer Joe Letz (formerly of industrial group Combichrist) and Elliot Berlin on keys. Unfortunately, within the opening song Gods & Gold, there were technical issues and the band had to stop two minutes in.
Despite that, Graves was not thrown off and promptly exited stage after a polite and humorous apology to the eagerly awaiting audience. Meanwhile, Letz and Berlin amused attendees with an improvised rendition of Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit on guitar and drums, while the entire venue sang along (Berlin admittedly ‘didn’t know all the words’). The pair raised the spirits of all present even more – their confidence and accepting indifference towards the technical issues was awe-inspiring.
an improvised rendition of Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit (…) while the entire venue sang along
Finally, Graves arrived back on stage and the show got underway properly (even if the sound was still a tad sketchy here and there). They continued to enthral the crowd with songs from their new album Into The Black, including techno-dance track Wickedness, the vocally heavier No Boys Allowed and Echoes. The performance was exhilarating, and the energy Graves, Letz and Berlin radiated was contagious, as the screaming and bouncing of the crowd failed to cease throughout.
Letz placed his floor tom in the arms of a particularly excited fan in the front row
Berlin could be seen through the smoke literally climbing on his keyboard rig and Letz even placed his floor tom in the arms of a particularly excited fan in the front row to boom along to a track (there was a slight struggle to get it back by the technical team though…).
Aesthetic Perfection also revisited some of their older material, with popular tracks Rhythm and Control receiving a tumultuous roar, and Love Like Lies and The Dark Half getting everyone’s hands in the air. Antibody was another favourite and the crowd did not stop cheering Graves on as he ducked to the front row multiple times to sing and smile with fans.
The atmosphere within The Fleece was electrifying throughout and the performance closed with a three-song encore from Graves, Berlin and Letz. Graves blasted out the hauntingly dark yet beautiful All Beauty Destroyed and the final applause would make ears bleed.
the final applause would make ears bleed
Overall, the show was amazing, with Amelia Arsenic, Priest and Aesthetic Perfection all delivering a memorable and unrelenting performance that credited their individual styles and talents within the alternative-electronica genres. Hopefully, they will return to Bristol soon.
Words by Nikita Petry