REVIEW: ODESZA @ The Howler, Melbourne
When you think Seattle music you think rock; alternative and experimental rock. It is cliché but the Washington State capital is best known for some of the greatest in Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Soundgarden. And Dave Grohl of course – he’s just awesome.
Of course times change and with that so does music – the scene, peoples taste, influences, what’s popular and what’s not. Enter Seattle duo ODESZA. Two fairly young dudes both of which grew up amongst the Seattle music scene, becoming mates in freshman year at college and releasing their first track not long after in 2012. They’re producers currently caught in the peak of dance music and proving that Seattle has and is pushing out more genres and sounds than its known for; and they’re more than willing to prove it.
Their debut album ‘Summers Gone’ and following EP ‘My Friends Never Die’ was completely free. They had a something special and they wanted everyone to hear it. In 2014 Harrison Mills and Clayton Knight dropped their second album ‘In Return’ and since then it’s been full steam ahead with their latest tour returning them to Australia since supporting RÜFÜS in July 2014.
The synthetic, atmospheric and continual underground sounds of Brisbane’s Charles Murdoch opened the show, displaying his pure talent in mixing organic and raw sounds that melded beneath subtle bass and synth lines. Shortly after ODESZA took to the stage opening with an extended intro of ‘IPlayYouListen’ as they both smashed the drum pads and fed the crowd a new level of energy. Their live setup and presence feeling very symmetrical in everything they do also reflecting through the intricate visuals behind them. “What’s up guys? We’re ODESZA. We’re stoked to be here!” introduced Clayton, “I know none of you have shit to do tomorrow so let’s get fucking wild.”
The duo is well renowned for a bunch of killer remixes and bootlegs, going hard for a solid fifteen minutes in laying down some of their reworks, starting with the Lilly Allen vocal infused hit ‘How Did I Get Here’ before dropping their most recent remix of Sia’s ‘Big Girls Cry’. ODESZA’s late 2013 remix of Pretty Light’ ‘One Day they’ll Know’ got thrown in there, just before the Ki:Theory rework of ‘Open Wound’, all blended so smoothly back-to-back. Gorgeous, airy-synths, simple beats and well-worked vocals are what make these guys so successful in their remixes, turning over tracks and finding hidden treasures within.
After a well-deserved breather, Harrison took the microphone thanking the Melbourne crowd for sticking by them since their last visit, "Last time we were here no one gave a fuck who we were and it was really fun, but really weird. We’re so thrilled to be back, so thank you. This is crazy.”
Their 2014 album ‘In Return’ was due for a spin, dropping the hit track ‘Sun Models’ with the soft vocals of Madelyn Grant and then running into ‘Bloom’. They didn’t stick to all the new stuff though, paying homage to their ‘My Friends Never Die’ EP that threw them into the lime-light – a short but sweet EP that showcased what they can do and how much more they’re capable of.
Calling it their final song for the night Harrison kept to the left and Clayton on the right facing back-to-back working the sample drum pads simultaneously, teasing the beginning of ‘Memories That You Call’ with a hot and heavy drum beat before letting the track take over and switching back to face the crowd, running the legs off the track and the sweaty, satisfied crowd before exiting the Howler stage. The track showcased exactly how many individual elements go into their music and live show making it so damn capitulating.
Returning to the stage with a full beer in hand the ODESZA duo broke into their electric remix of ZHU’s ‘Faded’, ripping out the grungy guitar line before building to the heavy synth drop - easily one of the best ZHU remixes floating about. The boys closed the show off with ‘Say My Name’, one of the most popular tracks of recent, seeing the crowd feed off the dance-pop progression and catchy vocal hooks, “I wanna dance with you - Oh yeah!” Seriously, such a gorgeous track – it’s poppy, it’s warm, it’s fulfilling and in a live atmosphere it makes you feel all positive and good about life. Sadly, this was the ending point of the show. The crowd sang happy birthday to their sound guy Sam and were on their merry way. I’m sure Australia and the world will be seeing and hearing much more from the Seattle dance duo soon!