Watching un-live, LIVE shows.

After three years of missing these guys perform, I finally saw Octopus Project play. Octo Proj is probably the closest to dance-pop that I listen to. There are dramatic, yet energetic tones that make you focus on the topic at hand, be it an important project or simply completing the dregs of a bottle opened just a few hours earlier (The Adjuster, Porno Disaster).

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Adrenaline cranking jams that make you want to run through a linebacker on your way to biking through traffic-congested streets, every pass of disgruntled motorist providing more satisfaction than the last (Music is Happiness),

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…and tracks that deliver the same emotions that overcome a server after completing a double-shift and the realization that dawns on them when they are clocked out at 9:35pm (instead of midnight) and that there is $180 dollars in their pocket (instead of only $100)- Truck.

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So, I was finally able to see these guys LIVE after slurping their tunes for years… and it wasn’t great. Some of the responsibility falls squarely on the venue’s shoulders (18+) and some of it falls on contemporary pop/indie-pop/dance-pop (whatevs) music. The biggest drawback however was the amount of loops used and how that put constraints on a live show.

I remember this happening when I saw RJD2. Basically, live shows aren’t the same when they aren’t played live (no duh).

The RJD2 and now the Octo Proj’s shows weren’t worth the effort. Both artists make good tracks that should be played at any dance party, but ultimately, that’s where their tracks should remain. To be enjoyed with friends and acquaintances while mixed in between some hip-hop and the like. If you go to their show expecting to catch lightning in a bottle, or some variation of your favorite song that you will always identify as “the best time I heard this song,” you will be disappointed.

Kaki King, Andrew Bird, and a few other acts also use loops, but in a different way. Though it’s just as repetitive, they record a progression live, loop it, build on top of it, and when the song reaches “maximum density,” they conclude or resolve whatever sonic canvas they’ve just built. It’s different in that they are playing their licks live and the build-up is always unique and usually better than what is produced on the album:

Andrew BirdWhy?

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The evolution of Bird and King’s songs makes their shows that much more worthwhile.

Kaki KingGay Sons of Lesbian Mothers

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Contrast that with what occurs when Octo Proj/RJD2 perform, and little, if anything, is enhanced from the album. Pair that with the fact that these bands do not have a wide range and after thirty-five minutes or so, you’ll find their music is pretty redundant. They don’t cross genres or really mix anything up. Imagine listening to an hour-straight of Ratatat, I couldn’t. But that’s the music they choose to make, and I’m thankful for it (I’m still very much a fan), I’ll just pass when given the opportunity to see them live.

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