This Odesza article was written by Zoe Anderson, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Rachael Smith
Odesza’s performance at the London venue KOKO was a mid-week spectacle of audio/visual loveliness. The pair, who met whilst studying at West Washington University, are in the middle of an electrifying world tour and have made the ostentatious venue their only stop in the UK this year. As a result, the show was a sell out and the venue was packed to the rafters with a fresh, early evening crowd. Odesza’s energetic, yet dreamy electronic sound bears influences of artists such as Cashmere Cat and Troyboi, who have sought to bring a softer, perhaps more natural sound to the often heavy and aggressive dance music genre. Odesza’s live sets are all-encompassing, combining Flying Lotus-esc visual elements with a Disclosure-style drum and pad set up, which places the beat squarely as the star of the show.
KOKO is an extremely welcoming venue, however not in the traditional sense. The staff will not win you over with smiles and the security is as stern faced as anywhere else. It’s the interior of this kitsch venue that draws you in, seducing you into the partying mood with its velvet velour. Originally the Camden Theatre, the venue opened in 1900 and was designed to be an upscale performance venue that served the local Mornington Crescent residents. The theatre has gone through many identities and hands, but now it stands as a beacon of quality music in the student night-life hub that is Camden Town.
A vast disco ball suspended above the crowd gave the red, Moulin Rouge decor an element of the glamorous. Soft lighting complimented this atmosphere perfectly as the second support act of the evening took to the stage. Armed with his effects pad, French producer Fakeear lulled the audience into a sway with sounds of oriental trap. This offshoot genre is a lighter version of its heavy, Atlanta born cousin and has been perfected by artists such as Mura Masa and Lido over the last few years. Fakeear’s chilled out sounds plucked at the audience’s feet rather than sending them into a frenzy, setting a perfect mid-week chilled out mood.
The last xylophone twinkle heralded the end of Fakear’s set and he saluted the audience with praying hands as the crowd supplied him with polite applause. The wonderful thing about old theatre venues is their flexibility in terms of viewing. The second floor supplied a great view of the stage, with ample room to move around. It is from up high that KOKO can be fully appreciated and watching a sea of euphoric, bobbing heads is always a wonderful experience.
As the lights dimmed, a full brass band walked uniformly to the rear of the stage. An impressive visual display of reds, blues and oranges lit up behind them as Odesza jogged purposefully to their positions. Their combination of live drumming and ethereal sounding vocals got the whole crowd bending and swaying to their will. A highlight, and a sing-along number, was their twinkly but bassy re-hash of ZHU’s ‘Faded’. It was a nice re-take on the often-remixed hit, freshened up with an uplifting synth sound and almost choir like vocals.
The sensory experience created by the duo was all-encompassing; as uplifting Chinese Lanterns glowed behind, time slipped quickly away. Their final song, their currently unreleased remix of Alex Aladair’s ‘Make Me Feel Better’, was an interesting choice for the closing number. Far more brass heavy than the rest of their set, the song finished the evening on a slightly rowdier note. After some friendly jostling, the audience showered their appreciation on the duo as they departed the stage.
There really is no better way to spend a Wednesday evening than by listening to two talented producers do their thing in a venue as plush and wonderful as KOKO. Truly, Odesza was a mid-week treat, and they should not be missed the next time that they cross the Atlantic.