The first thing I noticed when Autograf took the stage last Wednesday night was that Jake had shaved his head. He was also a lot more physical than usual. And he’d bulked up. And did he also shrink? Something wasn’t right…
It turned out that Jake wasn’t able to make the show that night and one of the openers, Cofresi, had stepped up to take his place. Well, that sucks for Jake, but the news was a relief for my sanity.
The Chicago trio has been pretty excited to share their new production set up, which they call “Caution: Live” featuring blasts of orange safety tape and quite a few references to construction sites. Following the end of their fall tour, they got together to renovate their live experience, taking the task of lighting and visual production into their own hands. In their preview clips it looked like the setup would comfortably fill a decent sized stage, but they weren’t booked on a stage that anybody in their right mind would describe as a decent-sized. They were going to play the glorified closet that is Seventh Street Entry, the kid sister to First Avenue. The Entry carries a max capacity of 250 people, so performers who play there don’t exactly have the luxury of space. I have no doubt that they took one look at the stage once they got their and thought, “Oh, shit.”
So what does Caution: Live look like on a bite-sized stage? The layout of the three members is much the same, just a little closer than they’re probably used to, but behind them stood two massive high-def, bright as hell LCD panels, framed on either size by thick strips of LED lighting, smoke machines, and the stage was entirely filled with colored light from a large number of floor and ceiling fixtures. The content on the screens was often shots of contruction scenes with red “Caution Autograf” tape wrapped throughout as well as construction sign-like patterns featuring a shocking orange color. I felt like I should be careful, though it wasn’t clear what for.
We’ve been big fans of Autograf here for some time, and it’s been fun to track their rise to fame from relative obscurity. It felt like last year held a lot of “they made it” moments for Autograf, from a surprise DJ set at Do Lab during Coachella to a veritable takeover of Electric Forest, a spot previously hosted by Rufus Du Sol and jackLNDN in years past. Their music has also shifted from solely remixes to primarily original tracks with the occasional remix thrown in.
Caution: Live was a great chance to see all of the fruits of their labor in one evening, pieced together in a kind of polite little rollercoaster trip through the past three years. They also dipped into their Daft Punk tribute, albeit somewhat abbreviated version that they played at Coachella last April, cleverly layering in a departure back to their originals.
If you’re even a medium or casual fan of Autograf, I’d highly recommend hitting one of their Caution: Live shows up. Head to cautionlive.com for dates and ticket information.