Despite playing to a smallish Tuesday night crowd, Austin electronica veterans The Octopus Project both began and ended their quirky show with a bang, all three boys in the band seriously rocking out in stark contrast to the calm and collected lone female member onstage.
Their initial warmup number was followed by the poppy and ebullient “An Evening with Rthrtha”. Everyone in the band seems to be having a good time, despite the tremendous amount of focus they project while playing. This was especially apparent while watching Toto Miranda toss his guitar aside to assist on drums during “Bees Bein’ Strugglin'”, an infectious cut off Hello, Avalanche. There’s not an ounce of sinister in the early part of this set and no one in the audience could help themselves from bopping along to the captivating and upbeat sounds.
The multi-talented band easily switches roles from song to song, Josh Lambert and Toto each taking a turn on drums & guitar; Yvonne Lambert and Ryan Figg effortlessly switching from guitar to synth to mini-xylophone. Yvonne alone rules the theramin, masterfully coaxing the hypnotic, swoony sounds out of thin air. With so much kinectic energy onstage, it was difficult to know what to focus on at times – Do I watch the entrancing visual projections in the background? Do I watch ball-of-fire Toto going completely out of control on the drums? Do I try to follow Josh and Ryan going crazy on guitars all over that tiny stage? Shit…Through it all, Yvonne was the eye at the center of this noise-rock storm. She was too beautiful not to watch.
They’re a great band to both watch and hear. As the set continued, The Octopus Project received a huge response from the crowd on new-favorite “Wet Gold” which I think is their most accessible track to date, probably due to the vocals. It’s their only song with vocals that I know of and I’m curious if they’ll continue along that path. Further on, we experienced some serious theramin madness “I Saw The Bright Shinies” (one of my personal favorites), followed by the sheer insanity of “Ghost Moves”. The recently re-imagined “Rorol” swelled to an epic, unthinkable beauty, once again with the ridiculously awesome theramin work. I can’t even begin to describe it but I’ll try – there were elements of Lightning Bolt in there, old school country twang, some UFO stuff…I don’t know, but it put me over the edge – in a good way.
Closing the show were “Music Is Happiness” and “Tuxedo Hat” with The Octopus Project juicing the hell out of the crowd with final track “Truck”. “Truck” iss about as frenetic as it gets, with perky little synth notes dotting the otherwise hectic and heavy guitar landscape and intense drum work. I love how this band can go from zero to apeshit in .25 seconds.
After a short break, the sweat-soaked band ended the night with a very old favorite of mine, “Porno Disaster”, full of deep drum rolls punctuated with crashing cymbals and dirty, dirty guitar work. I was surprised to hear them close with that but wholly and thoroughly enjoyed it just the same. After having been a fan for such a long time, I finally got to see The Octopus Project and it was very well worth the wait.