Robosapien is the musical synthesis of anger turned paranoia and human turned robot. In a new robotic form of synth punk, each song punches beats in electronic sound. This kind of energizing music is just the band we need in the trending years of blended vocals & guitar, inspired from 80’s music. A great genre at times, but we need something showing our passionate angst and disgust with current politics and, frankly, also some humans of today.
My fascination with these unique bands started back with Atom and His Package. More recently, synth pop Koo Koo Kanga Roo and Disasteradio have dominated my morning playlist. Robosapien still holds its own as a unique sound with its low-fi effect on guitar & bass, and with static in the background of particular songs. When I saw Robosapien had released a new album and discovered the album release show was at Mort’s, it was like winning the musical lottery.
Mortimer’s is located at the busy intersection of Franklin and Lyndale in Uptown. It has a unique sign and plenty of seating. Pinball machines are my personal favorite and if it weren’t for the show, I would have definitely stopped there first.
The show was affordable and enabled many in attendance to also purchase food and a few drinks. The music space had a decent amount of people for 10pm on a Saturday night.
I scoped out the place, admiring the velvet walls, the long bar to order drinks, and open rooms with leather seats. Framed pictures of literary scenes from novels like Oliver Twist, as well as a portrait of Dickens himself, decorated the walls. From the same era, 19th-century diamond shaped windows stood between the rooms. Stained glass windows in place of a ceiling gave off a nice yellow light.
Soon after arriving, the comedian Dena Denny took the stage. She performed a short set of jokes that got the audience laughing with her self-deprecating humor. She ended with handing out an old senior picture of herself with the claim that her high school self thought she had way more friends than she really did.
It was 10pm when Deleter took the stage. They played a couple songs to start with fast drums but slower moody vocals. They reminded me of 90’s grunge rock with a couple of well done angry punk songs here and there. They played from their latest release, Meaningless Chants, which I bought after the show, and also some from 2015’s Oblique Seasons.
The drummer’ skill and stamina were the most impressive aspect of the performance. The band also bantered with the crowd, calling us too young to understand their politically charged lyrics; we argued that we were old enough. It’s clear, though, that Deleter was playing among friends, in support of Robosapien’s album release. All in all, it was a great set.
The venue was crowded by the time the second band, Citric Dummies, started with the opening line “This song is called … It doesn’t matter what it’s called!” This declaration set the tone for the rest of their set, from haphazard stories about goofing off in the school lunchroom to practicing for the cover they played & celebrating when they nailed it.
They play fast two-minute songs. Their lack of caring was amusing in a world where everyone is so intentional and polished. If you want to be entertained by guttural yelling nonsense, guitar-driven beats, and mind-numbingly fast drums, go see Citric Dummies. Lead singer Brad Armpit yelled in the punk grimace until sweat poured down his face.
In past times, this would match the crowd as they moshed, but this is no longer the case. Here the audience only slightly headbanged to the fast beat and kept to themselves. Above us all was a beautiful golden candle chandelier, hanging from the elaborately etched ceiling. It was a comical juxtaposition when one is listening to a band scream about living in the bathroom.
Robosapien came on near midnight to a packed venue. Thomas Rehbein, the lead singer, writer, and creator, proved his lack of ‘humanness’ with a robotic voice and stiff dance moves, obviously due to his metal insides. At times he even pulled off robotically playing guitar chords.
Dot Matrix, otherwise known as Natalia Mendez, belted out the lyrics of the second verse to the song “Hack Into the Mainframe.” She used a circuit bent vintage phone mic to add robotic vocals to other songs. Her vocals were fantastic and her energy contagious.
Thomas then declared a mini dance party, jumping down to get onto the speaker while Renn (from the band Dirty Junk) climbed on stage. They sang “Polybius,” an awesome short song with less distorted vocals and more gratifying low-fi guitar & bass sounds.
Robosapien also called out racism in a They Might Be Giants cover called “Yr Racist Friend,” a great cover indeed. Luckily for us, Robosapien provided many tips for living an ultra-safe life, like living in a gated community and not giving into the temptation to call 999-9999 from the pay phone in the Mojave Desert. These robots diligently carried out their mission to train us foolish humans to the point of malfunctioning and shutting down, ending one of the greatest shows I’ve ever seen.
Correction: Natalie Krueger was in Naive Sense with Thomas Rehbein, not Natalia Mendez as previously mentioned.