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CMW 2014, Concert Reviews, Music

Concert Review: CMW 2014 – Odesza, Astr, Elizabeth Rose, Matty Boh @ Tattoo Toronto

By: Mehek Seyid (@whatthemehek) –

ODESZA. (Photo: Bronson Selling)

ODESZA. (Photo: Bronson Selling)

As another year of Canadian Music Week draws closer a close, the music festival crowds proved tireless at Tattoo Parlour last night, where Seattle-based electronic duo Odesza performed to a sold-out Toronto crowd.

“Hi. We’re from Seattle and we’re going to play some weird shit,” said  Clayton Knight before diving into their set. It was an appropriate introduction for Odesza’s amalgamation of lounge, chill wave and dub step sounds. Their distinct brand of electronic music creates an atmosphere that is soothing and relaxed in one moment, but instantly rendered uncontrollable in the next. Kaleidoscopic images of floating lanterns, forests, and brightly coloured shapes were projected on a large screen behind the duo, reinforced by their seamless transitions into varying sonic landscapes. The performance was visually and sonically dynamic.

Odesza’s equal-parts dancey and chilled out electronic music appeals to a broad range of fans on the EDM spectrum, and their growing fan base was keenly engulfed by the metamorphic music on Friday night. Some members of the crowd melded themselves to the sweaty silhouettes of the electronic duo bobbing to the colourful sounds from their debut album, Summer’s Gone, and their 2013 EP My Friends Never Die; while most screamed and danced along to the Gotye-sampled “Without You”.

One fan took it upon himself to be the unsolicited hype man, and climbed on stage, as another attempted to crowd surf while the duo spun their remix of Pretty Lights’ “Lost and Found”, a track that landed on the soundtrack for the recently-released film adaptation of the young-adult novel, Divergent. Regardless of how they experienced the music, everyone was enthusiastic for the West Coast-duo’s first show in Toronto. As word-of-mouth advertising in the underground electronic music scene has spread about the duo’s catalogue of popular remixes, and with several sold-out shows ahead on on their current tour, and it will be hard to keep Odesza tied to intimate venues.

Matty Boh was the first of three opening acts. The Canadian east coast DJ performed for just over half an hour to a fairly empty venue. The few who arrived early at Tattoo enjoyed his EDM-centric performance, which included trap remixes of the A$AP Rocky and Skrillex collaboration “Wild For The Night” and M.I.A.’s “Y.A.L.A.”. The remixes were infectious but would have fared much better in a packed club.

Singer-producer Elizabeth Rose gained a significantly larger audience in front of her opening set as she performed songs like “Sensibility” from her two EP’s Crystallise and Elizabeth Rose. Between her ’90s-influenced electronic-pop music, reminiscent of an AlunaGeorge record, and her enthusiasm for the stage, it was easy to enjoy the Australian-native’s performance. A cover of Corona’s “Rhythm of the Night”was the highlight of her 30-minute set and brought audience members to their feet as they bounced closer to the stage to the ’90s hit. The exuberant occasion marked the introduction for Elizabeth Rose to a Toronto audience.

By the time New York-duo Astr made their way to the stage, Tattoo was completely packed and ready to move. Lead singer Zoe commented between performances of songs “Razor” and “Part of Me” how much she loved the crowd’s enthusiasm and willingness to dance, as she fed off of their energy and jumped from one side of the stage to the other. The audience was even more responsive to their take on electro-pop, although their cover of Drake’s “Hold On, We’re Going Home” fell flat as a sweet ode to  Toronto when held up against the group’s own, much more engaging, material.

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