The Octopus Project @ Granada
The Octopus Project is a 4-member band (including husband and wife members, Josh and Yvonne Lambert) from Austin that plays indie electronic music with only a handful of lyrics on a few songs. They have been around since 1999, with their first major album released in 2002 (Identification Parade). All of the members play various instruments including guitars, drums, bass, keyboard, and the theremin, which is an instrument controlled by your contact to two different antennae’s – one for the oscillator and one for frequency. Check out the full review after the jump.
I think before I get into the show that evening, I should tell you about my personal background with the band for two reasons – I think that it’ll set a good tone for my expectations, and I just think it’s a good story. In 2005 they released their second full-length album (Foam Party). I was living in Houston at the time, and since they’re from Austin (and originally from Houston), they played there a lot. The guy I was seeing was really into them, so I saw them 4 times that year. I wasn’t really into electronic music at the time, and really didn’t get music that didn’t have a singer or lyrics, but went anyway. About the third show I saw, I really started to find myself looking forward to some of the songs they played, and it ended up being a breakthrough to me that music didn’t need lyrics to be something I enjoyed. They would also do interesting things for each of their shows. The first show I saw them play, they wore rabbit masks. The second time I saw them, they tied balloons to their wrists — it is really funny to see a drummer play with balloons tied to him. The last two shows, they wore hats that looked like power outlets. Very anime-esque.
The last time I saw them play that year was an interesting night. It was a Friday after a tough week, so I decided to drink EW (Even Williams or wanna-be Jack Daniels — we were fresh out of college and poor) and play Mortal Kombat on my Gamecube with my boyfriend. I’m not a liquor drinker, so it didn’t take much for me to become fairly intoxicated. One of our other friends and his brother, who we had never met before, met up with us to go see the show. Our friend’s brother immediately stated that he would pay me $20 if I slapped my boyfriend across the face as hard as I could. I looked into his eyes, and then slapped him so hard it brought tears to his eyes. It was a $20 well earned. We went out to the show, and the opening band was Peelander-Z. It was a bunch of Japanese guys on stage screaming, kicking and rocking out wearing colorful ninja suits. They actually describe themselves as a “Japanese Action Comic Punk band hailing from the Z area of Planet Peelander”. It was interesting and memorable to say the least. I couldn’t actually tell you much about the rest of the night – I’ll blame that on the EW.
Since then, they released the album Hello, Avalanche, which I am a huge fan of. I was really excited to see them this evening, and interested to see if they still did interesting shticks for their shows. I showed up in time to hear the two opening acts from Denton, Fur and Florene. Neither of which I thought were any good and don’t have much to say about them. The most interesting thing that happened before The Octopus Project came on stage was the live Twitter feed that Granada had streaming on one of the large screens between acts. I was minding my own business, and suddenly everyone started screaming and clapping. I looked at the stage and was immediately confused because nothing was happening. Then I saw the screen streaming the Twitter feed, and someone had just tweeted, “Scream if you like titz”. Yes, there was quite the mature audience in attendance. Here are the “scream if you like…” that followed:
- Illicit drugs
- Post colonial feminism
- Old fashioned glory hole
- Ice cream
- Masturbated today
- A mute
The game finally ended with a “Twitter if you like screaming.” Good play.
I got near the front and met a drunk girl and a few teenagers. The Octopus Project came on, and rocked it immediately. The opening bands either had two laptops, or just some keyboards. It was nice to hear the full sounds of a band with guitar, bass, drums and whatever other electronic noises they felt like making. By the time they got to the 3rd song of their set, the crowd was definitely worked up. When they played the opening notes to the song “Trucks” (one of my favorites), the crowd exploded. If you’ve never heard this song before, I think the best way to describe it is that I made a music mix once called “Happy Songs”, and that was the first song to that album. Ok, back to the show – a mosh pit and crowd surfing soon developed – and for the record I hate crowd surfing…I’m much too old to deal with that. Anna, aka HashBrowns, soon became soaked by someone’s drink. After we saw our extremely drunk “friend” heavily making out with some guy, we decided it was time to move to the back.
I was surprised when they got to the 5th song of the set and Toto Miranda, who usually plays drums, took over the mic and actually sang. I must mention here that throughout the set, Yvonne Lambert was lovely. She ever-so-elegantly plays the theremin and keyboards/electronics, but on the 6th song she strapped on guitar. I have a few femme-crushes, and she really made a running for that list at this show. Crowd surfing commenced again by their 7th song.
They played their last song, and I crossed my fingers in hopes that they would play my favorite song in the encore. They came back out pretty quickly, and immediately jumped into “Porno Disaster”, exactly the song I was hoping for. I was so happy, I almost decided to crowd surf! Ok, that was a complete lie. They played one more song, which again surprised me because they actually sang at the beginning. It was a little disjointed then, but towards the end when it was just the music, they came together and completely rocked it. It was a great way to end the night.
In summary, it was great seeing them again after a 5-year hiatus. They have become much more popular since the I last saw them, and I have personally turned from someone that went to shows because it was something to do, to someone that is actually a fan. I was slightly disappointed that they didn’t do any eccentric stuff as they used to, but in the end it’s not about what they were wearing, it’s about how they played their music – which was exceptional.