ODESZA's 'A Moment Apart' Tour Stunned Brooklyn With Guests, Lights & Drums
There was a buzz in the streets of New York City. Tiny cars colored with ODESZA’s geometric logo roamed the metropolis, or at least, they did inside your Lyft app. It was a promotion before the duo’s sold-out performance at the Barclays Center Friday night, Dec. 15, and it goes to show how far the Seattle pair has come in 2017.
Friday night was a celebration. ODESZA proved its worth as one of the best dance acts touring today, and certainly that it deserved its recent Grammy nominations for Best Dance Album and Best Dance Recording. It brought the decorated LP A Moment Apart to life in vivid color with a smart, exciting presentation that was more than just a bunch of cool lights, flashing visuals and guest collaborators -- although it was all of those things, too. Rather, it was also about how all these things worked in tandem to transport the Barclays crowd to another dimension of musicality for one joyful hour and a half.
ODESZA’s smart curation started with the openers. Chet Porter pumped the crowd with his remixes, mash-ups and edits of D.R.A.M., Louis The Child and more. Familiar lyrics smashed against his energetic beats made it easy to groove,and his big finish of original “Stay” set a good tone to the night.
Sofi Tukker followed with even more energy. The NYC duo made its love for its hometown clear. Singer Tucker Halpern ran around the stage like a madman while Sophie Hawley-Weld rolled onto the floor with a guitar. The hype was real when The Knocks’ JPatt appeared to perform their collaborative track “Best Friend,” and by the time the duo dropped its recently Grammy-nominated tune “Drinkee,” the arena was downright electric.
That electricity carried over into the minutes before ODESZA’s arrival. The crowd filled with phone lights and erupted in cheers when a giant screen burst into action. The cinematic intro sequence of A Moment Apart played, a woman’s tale of an astronaut who evades the madness by hearing music in a repetitive noise. The visual of a twisting space station was stunningly clear and dynamic.
ODESZA’s Harrison Mills and Clayton Knight rushed the stage and took their places behind electronic pads and drums. The euphoric chords of the album’s title track washed over in a wave of emotion. Mills and Knight were joined by a trumpeter and a guitarist, then by a full fledged drumline, a feature of the live performance that has become so popular, it has its own Instagram account.
The perfect syncopation of the drumline’s movements is indicative of ODESZA’s overall eye for design. Mills and Knight stand on a platform that mirrors the lighting structures above like a visual ripple. ODESZA’s already lofty sounds somehow became more grandiose and overwhelming paired by the incredibly high-definition graphics, themselves made even more three-dimensional by perfectly synced moving lights so bright, you’d think you could touch them. Literal fire sent heat into fans’ faces alongside flaming visuals, creating a wild multi-sensory experience.
The set played like one never-ending climax. When they performed “Late Night,” there were so many white beacons in the air, it was as if the inside of the arena had turned into a star. Red confetti blasted from the front of the stage to a massive roar. To an outsider, this would look like the big finish, and it was just the fourth song.
It also seemed as if the duo was on a mission to prove its mastery of production beyond genre. It incorporated trap, disco, house, jazz and funk into its live renditions, showcasing both its own musical diversity as well as how far its catalog can be pushed in the live setting. ODESZA is known for ethereal beauty, but they made a pretty solid case for themselves as one of the hardest rockin’ acts in dance today.
The band was joined on stage by collaborators Naomi Wild, WYNNE and RY X for moving renditions of singles “Higher Ground”, “Line of Sight“ and “Corners of the Earth” respectively, as if the show needed anything to make it more exciting. By the time the band left the stage to tease the encore, the sold-out crowd was mind-numbed putty in their hands. They could hardly cheer any louder to bring ODESZA back, and when the duo ran back to their places to bang out one final massive, stomping ode to drums, you could feel their smiles from the back row.
ODESZA bid goodnight to Brooklyn with voices that brimmed with joy and satisfaction. The A Moment Apart tour seems only to mark the full realization of a band that could rightly be regarded as legendary. It would have been almost sad to see it end in Brooklyn that night. Thankfully, they've added more dates.