It’s often a thrill when a band that’s bigger in another country comes to play here. Watching a show designed for arenas in a theatre space has a unique intensity, lasers whizzing past your ears as the spectacle strains against the foundations.
This was a scaled-down experience for Seattle dance duo Odesza, who in the US can boast Grammy nominations, a top three album and, this coming April, a slot at California’s huge Coachella festival second on the bill behind Eminem. Their usual line of additional drummers hadn’t made the trip, nor had any guest singers, or indeed any drones – hundreds of which they flew over a festival crowd last year.
It still felt like being inside the Millennium Falcon’s tumble dryer. With video walls above and below them, Harrison Mills and Clayton Knight were silhouetted against boiling seas of lava, Japanese cityscapes and the planet Jupiter. They may not have been doing much behind their tiny keyboards, but extra drums for them to bash and the addition of two horn players kept the physical energy levels high.
On record, this is a classy band by the unsubtle standards of American EDM. The abstract vocals of Bloom and swooping strings of the soulful Across the Room made the music feel more organic, less robotic. Their breakthrough third album, A Moment Apart from 2017, is full of beautiful passages, especially the blissful digital ballad Line of Sight.
On stage they lost some of that relaxed charm, hammering out the dark military techno of Loyal and losing credibility with a Jive Bunny-style remix of The Locomotion.
Bringing on even more drums for a finale of It’s Only, they ensured there was plenty to look at til the very end. This summer’s festival crowds will enjoy them all the way to the back.