LIVE REVIEW: The Octopus Project @ Music Hall of Williamsburg 10/8/10
Word of caution: if you have epilepsy or are easily made ill from overexposure to light spectacles, refrain from seeing The Octopus Project live. Bursts of scattered light are prominently featured throughout their show. Fortunately, I have no such disease and welcomed the obliterating amount of euphoric displays. The Austin, TX quartet’s enthusiasm and energy dictated their hour-long set, which included “Truck” and “I Saw the Bright Shinies” from 2007’s Hello, Avalanche as well as brand new tracks from their forthcoming album, Hexadecagon, due to be released October 26.
The Octopus Project took the stage Friday night clothed like Mormon missionary hipsters in white shirts, black ties, and black pants. Well, everyone except for the musically ambidextrous Yvonne Lambert, who wore a graceful blue dress. For the majority of the set, a closely choreographed sequence of musical instrument chairs ensued. The guitarist took over bass duties, the drummer shredded on guitar, and Lambert bounded from keyboards to theremin to sampler. It’s akin to actually viewing experimentation in A.D.D. behavior.
In unique fashion, no one in the group is siloed with responsibility for one musical instrument. Their record making process is a highly collaborative process, so their live shows, in turn, are representative of that. It was striking the way Lambert took on her keyboard/theremin duties with steadied composure like a porcelain doll amongst a monsoon of chaos rushing all around her. Lambert’s skill and timing in manipulating the theremin was a work of art. Her hands gently floated up and around the instrument’s metal core in mesmerizing concert with the music.
At one point, a young, fervent male erupted with a torrent of glow sticks from the front center area of the crowd. At first, no one gave bother to join him as he flailed in a pathetic glow of Ghostbuster green, until one, then two, then ten or more people joined in an elaborate celebration of audience participation. Surprisingly, the majority of the attendees were younger than expected for a group who is coming up on their fourth release. Nevertheless, they were ravenous for the Octopus Project’s psychedelic blend of live instrumentation and swirling electronic psychosis. It just goes to show, if you “Keep Austin Weird” (the unofficial Austin slogan), great things will happen!
Photos by Galen Summer