‘Twas the night before Thanksgiving, and all through the theater, not a head wasn’t bobbing to electrohouse. A holiday run through the Midwest was on the agenda for EOTO, in the midst of an evolving sound and a grueling tour. The temperature dropped through the floor just in time for a heated set at the 20th Century Theater in Cincinnati, Ohio, and the dubstep duo found a way to thrill a rowdy crowd in America’s heartland.
What do you do when you’re sick and you’re stuck on the road? Traveling is never fun with a raspy cough or a head cold. Imagine your trip doesn’t end after a rough day on the road or in a stuffy plane, but continues for more than a month. EOTO just wrapped up 33 straight days of touring. That’s 2+ hours of improvised mayhem each night, followed by a bumpy night’s rest hauling ass down the interstate in a smelly Ford Econoline. By the time Jason Hann staggered into the 20th Century Theater, his sinus cavities were packed and his head burned like an oven-roasted turkey. But the show must go on.
Local fave DJ Stump opened up the show. He patiently warmed up the crowd with some jazzy breaks, worked his way up through some chillstep and finally dropped the dub hammer with his last few mixes. Cole Brokamp ably spins his set, not content to button push, but gets down and dirty on the 1’s and 2’s. Quite a refreshing change of pace from his contemporaries in the glitch and dubstep worlds. Stump doubles on keyboards/samplers for livetronica act The Skeetones, so he’s familiar with working a jam-heavy room. Look for the band and the man creeping out of the Ohio region over the next few months.
Like a good friend, Michael Travis carried the weight during EOTO’s first set. Taking care of dubbing duties and bass riffs, Travis allowed Hann to stay back in the cut, chugging out his signature dubstep drumming without having to over exert. You couldn’t even really tell the guy was on his last legs. The duo kept up the pace, changing direction deftly each time the lick got tired. It never fails to amaze me how quickly EOTO evolves. Most major touring acts play a few dozen shows each season, and go back to tried and true setlists each night. The process of maturation is slow, at best. With EOTO playing hundreds of shows each year consisting hours of purely improvised jams, the evolutionary process is on a molecular level. Little did I know that the opening act was just a warmup.
Following what must have been a powerful cocktail of Powerade, Theraflu and chicken noodle soup, the second start sprinted out of the gates. A simple tribal jam featuring bass and bongos got progressively more dirty until it descended into straight electrohouse. EOTO is somehow able to pull off each and every major style. When they started, just a few short years ago, it was all about the breaks and drum and bass. Then came Sham-ba-lah and the advent of the dubstep era. Now, EOTO is pulling off the electro stylings of a Deadmau5 or A-TRAK. These club bangers emanating from the throbbing speaker system of a producer/drummer duo were unreal. The crowd was going nuts, pumping up the tempo and the volume until the drop… then more electro. Teasing, teasing, teasing until that dub drop came and cracked the room in half.
What’s even more amazing is Jason’s vocal work. Sickness or no sickness, Jason was singing. A lot. And not even his typical vocoded demons, but straight up singing. Straight up Lauryn Hill, TLC, and Michael Jackson with hardly any effects. Looking like he was having a blast, he’d drop the beat and croon a few bars of some 90’s R&B hit. No matter how sickly he may have been, the performer inside him knew his audience. These folks had been waiting for this show all week. Not excited about cranberry sauce, but wobble sauce. Hann knew he had to push past the pain, and give that crowd what they expected: another barn-burner on EOTO tour. But that’s life on the road.
The functionality you are trying to use is for members only. Would you like to sign in?