It doesn’t seem too difficult a feat anymore for DJs, dubstep artists or electronic dance music creators to get a crowd to move with their rhythms and beats. It takes something more than just beats to transport people somewhere else though, or to introduce qualities that inspire more than just losing yourself to the music. ODESZA did that Nov. 22 in the Orpheum Theater, and they did so without ever losing the dreaminess that also accompanies their music.
In the midst of tribal beats and unceasing demand of music to move in sync with, their music never loses hints of wistfulness and mysticism. They make music that inspires all of us to dance, but the music also makes us dream and smile about losing ourselves to the great escape music and dance has always provided. For a few hours that Sunday, everyone at the Orpheum was spellbound into forgetting the chores of life. The classes, books, work and worries all disappeared into what ODESZA could spin together for us. All that existed was their magical music, and the places it transported us to. Places that were anywhere but a cold and bitter Sunday night before the demands of the week began.
While the Seattle based electro-pop duo only started out in 2012, they’re already standing at the helm of commanding huge stages with thousands of fans at their fingertips. Harrison Mills (CatacombKid) and Clayton Knight (BeachesBeaches) were college students not unlike me only a short while ago. Today however they’re playing at giant festivals like Coachella, Lollapalooza and Sasquatch! with consistent sold-out venues around the country. Having released their first album for free in 2012, after gaining popularity on SoundCloud and YouTube, they have since continued to garner a fast-growing following.
Their success seems to be pivotally owed to the ethereal hooks they include with their turbulent beats that allow you to daydream while moving into a world of flashing lights and hypnotic sounds, begging you to move with them. Appearing on the dark stage with sudden flashing of a bright, white light and ominously growing tribal beats, it is hard to imagine the masses immediately starting to move are simply controlled by two dudes with a computer.
I’ve said it before: There is nothing like an electronic dance music concert, but the real beauty of it lies in the fact that no two EDM concerts are the same. Living in an individualistic world births in us a wariness of people in crowds and masses, but duos like ODESZA always eradicate this instinct by reminding us how unifying EDM concerts are. We all feel the music, we all sweat profusely and we all move to it unabashedly. There’s something very pure about feeling music inside of you with a throng of strangers in such an elemental way.
Despite their ability to have all their songs flow together in an indiscernible way from one to the next, crowd favorites still managed to stand out. Their remix of Zhu’s “Faded” in particular was electrifying to witness. Others like “Say My Name,” “Make Me Feel Better” and “All We Need” were performed to the roaring of a crowd that did justice to their brilliance. A sold-out show like this should make the list of regrets of anyone who wasn’t attending, but especially those who stayed inside to stay warm.