At The Drive In, O2 Institute, Birmingham - review

By Rebecca Stanley | Music | Published:

The walls of Birmingham's O2 Institute were shaking last night when At The Drive In came to town.

At The Drive In. Pic:

The Texas quintet brought a loud and chaotic show to the Digbeth venue accompanied by two special guest bands ready to warm the crowd.

Mexican garage-punk trio Le Butcherettes were first to rock the steadily filling room. Despite playing to a small crowd, the group performed a visually captivating and ear-drum-splitting set that left mouths agape across the venue.

Following them was Canadian rock duo Death From Above 1979, who began their set with mind-bending distortion and ominous back-lighting to create a dark and brooding mood.

This strong and atmospheric start did not continue throughout the set however, as the band's vocals were often hard to hear over the bellowing drum sections. The intricate and raw bass lines the band are partially known for also often became lost, making their interesting and vibrant musical style fall flat.

The passion the pair hold for their music was visible every second they were on stage however, with them vigorously moving along to every note.

The room erupted into a sea of dancing and moshing bodies as At The Drive In rushed onto the stage in a whirlwind of energy.

Within the first few notes of Arcarsenal, vocalist Cedric Bixler had jumped from atop the drum kit's bass drum, and crossed the stage multiple times in a furious and transfixing dance.

This dazzling energy was matched only by the sheer volume the band exuded, though this sometimes caused their sound to become distorted and inaudible.


The crowd didn't seem to mind however, as they jumped and danced their way through fan-favourite tracks Hostage Stamps, Governed By Contagions and Invalid Litter Dept.

Hit single One Armed Scissor incited the entire room to erupt into a sea of clashing bodies, while Napoleon Solo caused the crowd to pause for breath and focus on the soothing, harmonious vocals.

The intricate and emotionally-charged lyrics connected with the crowd to create a bold and bright atmosphere that lit up the entire venue, with the contrasting sounds of each song played showing the journey At The Drive In has embarked upon during their 20-year career.

Ending on hit track Pattern Against User, At The Drive In left Birmingham breathless after an energetic and varied set that celebrated the bands entire glittering career.

Rebecca Stanley

By Rebecca Stanley

Entertainment journalist for Express & Star and Shropshire Star. Contact me:


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