Odesza at PNE Forum

November 5, 2017
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Seattle EDM darlings, Odesza, slay for two nights at the Vancouver Forum—but does anyone actually notice? Hard to tell.

Seattle EDM duo Odesza is known for putting on a high-production show, particularly when they play in their hometown. So expectations were high for their two-night residency at the Vancouver Forum. Doors for the all-ages show at the PNE opened at 6pm, with Kasbo and Sofi Turner getting the crowd warmed up before the headliners took to the stage at 9:20pm. Not fitting the demographics of an “all-ages” show, the LIKE crew rolled up to the venue at 9:17pm and not a minute sooner.

We did not have to wait long before the smoke machines did their thing and two figures made their way to the middle of the stage. Harrison Mills (aka Catacombkid) and Clayton Knight (aka Beaches Beaches) took their spots across from each other, and stood there for the duration of the hour-plus show. Between them, beside them, and in front of them, a parade of performers came and went—a guitarist wildly played the strings as if his life depended on it; trombone and trumpet players held their instruments high; and a flock (or is it a pride?) of drummers dressed in white—like sumo wrestlers but with a lot more coverage—beat their instruments and, at times, even their chests. The duo was most successful when guests—Naomi Wild on “Higher Ground,” WYNNE on “Line of Sight”— joined them onstage. The crowd favorite was “It’s Only,” featuring the entire drumline.

On Friday, the duo played an eclectic mix of old and new original songs, along with some of their most popular remixes released over the years since their debut in 2012. Odesza did their best to get the crowd moving to the tunes but were ultimately  upstaged by their own visuals, which were projected onto the huge screen behind them while lasers shot out of the stage in every direction. At times, the screen was filled with molten lava showers that looked so real, you could almost feel the temperature rising in the Forum. At other times, there were geometric symbols, spinning and shattering only to come together again. All the while, billows of smoke filled the venue and enveloped the performers onstage. Those in the back probably saw an intermittent wave of little screens emerging from the dark mass of people. At times, bodies bounced up and down. On stage, Harrison, or maybe it was Clayton, urged the crowd on by reminding us of where we were. “Hey Van-couuuuu-ver?!” It sounded like a proclamation. At other times more like a question.

In Vancouver, crowds can be hit or miss. At best, it’s hard to tell what they’re feeling. At worst, it’s hard to tell if the crowd is awake. Sure, they throw their hands in the air, they bounce their heads up and down, maybe side to side, and of course they take out their phones for selfies and to post on Snapchat—but are they loving the show? Who really knows.

Except when it’s all over, and you’re walking out into the cold street and you hear bits of conversation. “They slayed,” was a popular comment. “They killed it,” was another one. Ah, yes, it looks like Odesza put on a good show and fun was had by all.


Photos courtesy: @odesza and @blueprintevents via Instagram