REVIEW: EOTO & Kraddy at the Vogue 4/2/2012

Was this really a Monday night show?! The turn out and crowd participation felt a lot better than many of the Saturday night shows in recent memory. Way to show your support, Indy!

The opening act, Kraddy, held his own with the Indianapolis EDM fans with some epic bass drops while building anticipation in his last few sets, inciting the audience with a countdown to EOTO’s grand entrance on stage. One of the many great juxtapositions of the night came from seeing the magnitude of difference in musical peripherals between Kraddy and EOTO themselves. Kraddy was able to deliver many nasty beats using only an iPad while EOTO filled the entire stage with instruments of all kinds.

The Vogue was the perfect venue for this show and really made the best of it. Thank you, the Vogue, for keeping the balcony closed, as this focused the crowd toward the dance floor– not that EOTO needed any help in that department. The expansive stage was almost completely taken over by the larger than life lotus flower that is the foreground and back drop for EOTO’s show. Each petal showed off an amazing array of color and pictures ranging from cute cartoon robots and reverberating bass speakers to almost creepy living human eye balls and abstract pulsing shapes and textures. An amazing spectacle to be sure, but not ridiculously excessive like you might imagine. Whereas one of the bigger shows last month, The Crystal Method, was over-the-top in all the right ways (confetti cannons, glow sticks raining from the sky, lasers), this show was low key by the perfect margin. No laser lights aimed directly into the crowds eyes. No bass speakers pushed beyond their headache inducing limits. Just wonderful sights and sounds, almost relaxing while still being infused with energy, radiating from this unique set piece.

Nothing showed off this mix of laid-back and exciting like the men themselves, Michael Travis and Jason Hann. Taking the stage with only t-shirts, jeans and enthusiastic smiles, it was so apparent how much these guys love what they do. While many of their counterparts are spending so much energy being “too cool” to enjoy playing their own music, these two are unabashedly ecstatic for the music they make and how that music makes the crowd move. Much of the time Hann played his drums with eyes closed, in his own world just rocking out. Hann was so impassioned that when Travis needed to get his partner’s attention he literally had to grab the nearest ringing cymbal out from under his stick to snap him back to reality. This is what happens when you play “100% live improvisational dubstep” as they say of their music. Their lotus was filled with multiple kinds of drum kits, keyboards, guitars and mixing boards, all of which were used expertly throughout the nearly three hour show.

EOTO could be classified as electronic dance music but their brand comes from much more stamina and with much more sweat than normal. Every rhythm is formed and every beat is struck live on stage for all to see. Maybe this is part of the reason why every person from front to back moved as if part of the show themselves. Every head at the bar was bobbing. Very few wallflowers, and even they could not resist moving to the beat of the drums. As for the dance floor, it was filled to the brim from start to finish. Filled with dancing centaurs, rabbits, pandas. Off to the side were the Cirque du Soleil worthy hula hoops and glowstrings and one lone twirling umbrella. And more dreadlocks than you can shake a drumstick at. This diverse crowd, at many points throughout the night, moved as if one to the hypnotic beats. All of this is no shock considering that the band is one big rhythm section. The beats moved from electric trance melodies to dubstep bass drops with bass guitar rhythms and rock-like drum solos thrown in. Wearing a mic headset enabled the occasional lyrical hook along with a few old school rap verses. Sounds that are not at all expected from middle-aged white guys, but somehow worked and fit in with the whole eclectic show.

As the show reached its crescendo, many ebbs and flows led to an all out drum war as each side of the duo stood and battled with their tribal-like drums in a grand finale. The crowd cheered and EOTO exited the stage with the words “Real music, every time!” Of course, they were called back to stage from a long break by the chanting from the crowd who truly wanted more. E-oto! E-oto! E-oto! This made for a very genuine encore, as opposed to the typical “off and back on again in thirty seconds because we need to get in an encore”. They took us on one last adventure with images of a rocketship space odyssey and trippy drum sounds as good as any in the whole show. From start to finish, we thank you, EOTO, for bringing your Indianapolis fans along with you on this beautiful musical journey!