Before the CD release party at Venue Night Club, I had never heard of Au4. I’d never listened to any of their music and I will likely never listen to it again, except perhaps by accident. And yet despite the very small crowd of people in attendance at the show on Thursday, I thought that these guys were truly rock stars.
No, I’m not kidding.
Even though they’ve been around for nearly a decade, Au4 has released only two studio albums: 2004’s On and this year’s … And Down Goes the Sky. Considered an “…audio/visual creative collective…” brothers Ben and Aaron formed the band back in 2004. And when the all-black clad band members hit the stage surrounded by a laptop, iPad, mixer, drum kit, several guitars, keyboard, backup singers, and 4 flat-screen TVs, I knew that I wouldn’t just be listening to their music, I’d be experiencing it. And although they suffered a few technical difficulties throughout their set, they still played song after song with the same excitement and energy that you might expect to get in a bigger venue with a much bigger crowd.
I might not have loved Au4’s sound (seriously, if Rush, Dead Can Dance and Muse had a three-way in a Tolkien-inspired forest, Au4’s music would be their magical spawn), but I can definitely appreciate a band that gives their all when they get up on stage and these guys did just that. Their website describes their latest album as having “…story-like lyrics and meticulous soundscapes, Au4’s … And Down Goes the Sky sweeps its listeners into a world where fantasy dances with science…”See? Rush. Dead Can Dance. Muse. Makin’ magical music babies. Think about it.
Together, these guys played great. Their songs are both lyrically and instrumentally driven, but I could’ve done without the TV visuals. I just didn’t think they added anything to their set, since most of the time you’re watching the lead singer Ben. This guy is enough to get the crowd moving with the kind of energy he puts into singing and dancing along with every tune they played. Heck, the whole band is so into what they’re doing up there that you can’t help but want to clap along with them. When you see a live show, most performers need the crowd to pump them up, but not these guys. They probably would’ve played just as hard and well even if there were only 3 people in the audience. They seemed incredibly happy to be there and although the crowd wasn’t huge, we clapped when they clapped and danced along with them, and really cheered these guys on, because they really did play as hard as any rock star out there. Kudos.