Weird Live Review: Captured! By Robots

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We humans, for the most part, kind of suck at playing live music. We only have four limbs and can only play so fast. We’re easily distracted and fuck up our parts all the time. Our fingers bleed and our tendons get strained. It’s a miracle every concert isn’t a complete disaster, really.

So why not replace those feeble humans with ass-kicking robots? That’s the idea behind Captured! By Robots, a three-piece grindcore band that is only one-third human. And on a recent night here in Los Angeles, at a venue called Resident, those robots and their human slave, Jbot, proved that it’s a pretty awesome idea.

Captured! By Robots is one of those bands where the show starts before a single note of music is played. The band’s drummer, DRMBOT0110, and guitarist/bassist, GTRBOT666, get wheeled into position early, followed by a series of banners expressing C!BR’s collective attitude towards its pathetic human fan base. You pretty much know exactly where you stand at a Captured! By Robots show, and it’s low on the food chain.

Captured-by-Robots-live1Then the show starts and it’s mayhem. GTRBOT and DRMBOT don’t move around too much — though they do headbang with animatronic gusto — but they churn out a wall of blast beats and riffs denser than anything 20 human musicians could generate. Jbot, clad in rags and chains like some sort of post-apocalyptic death camp escapee, screams, growls and shambles between the stage and the audience, belting out songs with titles like “What Is Wrong” and “No Help Coming.” “Ladies and gentlemen, I was built for one thing,” Jbot declared before the latter tune. “And that’s to suffer alone in a cave.”

C!BR’s vision of the future sounds pretty bleak, but there was one ray of hope — in a drum-off between DRMBOT and a human volunteer from the audience, the human won. I’m not sure if that’s how it goes down every night, but at the L.A. show, at least, as GTRBOT mechanically intoned, “The human has won!”, it made for an almost uplifting moment.

As GTRBOT’s final power chords reverberated through the small venue, Jbot gasped, “Thank you very much, we’re all gonna die, I’ve got merch in the back.” Then he went to work his own merch table and accept thanks, admiration and hard currency from a line of frail human fans. Maybe for his next tour, he’ll have a MRCHBOT, but this time around, it was impressive to see Jbot working so hard to be a one-man operation — albeit one in which he’s cleverly replaced all the instrumental heavy lifting with machines. Or have they replaced him?

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Bow down to GTRBOT666, human scum

I’ve been remiss in not posting this review sooner, but Captured! By Robots do still have some tour dates remaining — see below for a full list. If you live in any of the towns they have yet to invade, I highly recommend seeking them out. They put on a hell of a show. And if you pay your respects now, maybe they’ll go easy on you when they inevitably take over and start grinding our soft, mushy bodies into paste.

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Captured! By Robots announces the C!BR Is Trippin’ Balls tour

Captured! By Robots Trippin' Balls tour poster

Can robots trip balls? We’re about to find out. Captured! By the Robots, the world’s greatest Journey-covering nearly-all-robot band, is heading out on tour this April and May, and they’re promising a mind and/or CPU-expanding show the likes of which we sad little meat puppets have never seen. There will be baby eating. There will be dildo trombones. There may or may not be some unicorn riding. Or maybe there will baby riding and unicorn eating. You don’t know, and neither do we. All we can do is tell you the dates.

4/17/2013     Slabtown     Portland
4/18/2013     Chop Suey     Seattle
4/19/2013     The Palace     Missoula
4/20/2013     The Shredder     Boise
4/21/2013     Urban Lounge     Salt Lake City
4/24/2013     3 Kings Tavern     Denver
4/26/2013     The Brick     Kansas City
4/27/2013     Triple Rock      Minneapolis
4/28/2013     The Aquarium     Fargo
5/1/2013     JD’s Bar     Green Bay
5/2/2013     The Frequency     Madison
5/3/2013     Cactus Club     Milwaukee
5/4/2013     Martyrs     Chicago
5/5/2013     House Cafe     Dekalb
5/7/2013     TBA         Marshall
5/8/2013     Mac s Bar     Lansing
5/9/2013     Blind Pig     Ann Arbor
5/10/2013     Grog Shop     Cleveland Heights
5/11/2013     The Note     West Chester
5/12/2013     Chameleon Club     Lancaster
5/15/2013     The Hideaway     Johnson City
5/16/2013     Milestone Club     Charlotte
5/17/2013     The Jinx     Savannah
5/18/2013     The Earl     Atlanta
5/22/2013     Artmosphere     Lafayette
5/23/2013     TBA         Austin
5/24/2013     Double Wide     Dallas
5/25/2013     Rubber Gloves     Denton
5/28/2013     LAUNCH PAD     Albuquerque
5/30/2013     Rhythm Room     Phoenix
5/31/2013     TBA         San Diego
6/1/2013     TBA         Los Angeles

I’ll repeat here what I already told C!BR on their Facebook page: When you gearheads come to L.A. (and you better, godammit), you should play The Smell. That place is awesome. Bring a few robot floor fans, though. Otherwise you’ll probably blow a gasket when the temperature hits 120 and the walls start sweating.

We’ll leave you with a behind-the-scenes video of C!BR drummer DRMBOT0110 stress testing his double kick-drum. If you’re a drummer in a death metal band, you might wanna start looking for other work.

Captured! by Robots

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Photo by Raymond Ahner

[Note: Since this post was originally published, Captured! by Robots has become a three-piece grindcore band, as reflected in the above photo. At JBOT’s request, we removed all old photos showing C!BR’s earlier incarnation, but the copy below is still from 2010 and still describes a version of the band that no longer exists. Got it? Good.]

You know what automatically makes just about anything cooler? Robots, that’s what. By that measure, Captured! by Robots (no relation, as far as we know, to Panic! at the Disco) is the coolest band on the planet. There’s only one human in this nine-member band, and he’s a whiny douchebag in a gimp mask with fake intestines hanging over his beer gut. Whereas the guitar player, GTRBOT666, is like eight feet tall and plays a double-neck Flying V combination guitar and bass. Because shit, why not? He’s a fucking robot. They can vacuum our carpets and assemble our automobiles. How hard can it be for them to play three-chord hesher bait?

Actually, the robots aren’t really the driving force behind Captured! by Robots. It’s that lone whiny human (but we had you going for a second there, didn’t we?). The joke perpetuated by Jay Vance, aka JBOT, is that he started building robot bandmates because he was sick of his flesh and blood ones…but then the robots rose up and enslaved him, and now they run the band. There’s a cautionary tale in there somewhere, but we’re not sure if it’s “Stick to your human band” or “Skip the robots and taking up DJing.”

Anyway, here’s a clip of C!bR’s live show, which is really the main attraction here. Musically, they’re in no danger of replacing us meat puppets. Although their “Don’t Stop Believin'” cover ain’t half bad. (By the way, high-fives to reader Aaron for suggesting these guys. Hold on to that feeling, Aaron!)

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