oOoOO Crescent Ballroom Saturday, July 28 2012
See also: oOoOO Makes Terrifically Scary Pop Self-described as Blondie with autism, oOoOO assembles a world run by his own rules. Whatever structures remain are quickly abandoned, reassembled, and screwed back together so quickly you can hardly keep up.
oOoOO is treacherous. One moment, he'll play bits and pieces of a popular dance tune, the next he'll flip a switch filled with the slowed-down sounds of AOL 5.0 you heard whenever you logged on. The minute you get comfortable swaying to a heavy hip-hop bass line or some light synths, it'll start skipping and break down completely. At one point, Lady Gaga was stripped of all her production and reduced to nothing but a grotesque drone.
You wanna know the real reason oOoOO (technically pronounced "oh," but I don't care -- I say something like a Satanic Casper would growl) is spelled that strangely? Witch house artists like †††, GuMMy†Be▲R and †‡† do this because it's weird, pagan, and much harder to search for on the grand ol' Internet, keeping this strange scene more underground. I don't think they'll have any problem doing that, since the genre is mostly a joke. Seriously.
The experience felt less like a trancey chillwave show and more like an art house experiment you'd see in a gallery on Roosevelt Row. And the feeling is a discordant balance of anxiety and something prenatal. A fetus floating in jelly has thoughts like this.
The black and white video footage played behind the San Francisco DJ was like the narcissist webcam movies of a stalker. While grinning broadly, oOoOO was stomping up and down an escalator, following a woman, slinking through a subway terminal and generally being creepy as fuck. All of this while the phrase "I need a cokebag" was screeched and stuttered repetitively until it felt like you were the one overdosing.
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Maybe they just weren't on the right drugs, but it didn't seem like the audience was following very well. I mean, they were trying, but either the beat was too grating, too sluggish or too short-lived. I loved this disturbing spectacle, but even I felt like dancing more for YUS, the Phoenix native who opened the night, even if Youceff Kabel talks too much between songs.
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Plus, oOoOO mostly just stood there, tweaking his sound boards like a crazed engineer strung out on Benzedrine, except he was wearing board shorts, a tank top, hiking boots, and a baseball cap. But again, oOoOO makes his own rules, probably just so he can break them.
Eventually, oOoOO abruptly slammed his laptop shut and shuffled meekly offstage, sipping a water bottle and chewing on something. The crowd started to demand an encore, but the DJ yelled, "I don't have anything else to play," and raised his hands sheepishly.
Critic's notebook: Last night: oOoOO, YUS The Crowd: Some kids looked like a cross between hippies (long, dirty hair tied up in weird places) and industrial ravers (red jumpsuits or lots of black). If witch house ever becomes a big thing, the fans could easily be called "rippies." Overheard in the crowd: "You're so cute!" screamed by a girl or two at the front. oOoOO didn't even look up. Also, those guys yelling at YUS to shut up were dicks, but I don't know why Kabel was talking about the Diamondbacks between songs either. Personal Bias: I really wanted to dance to this, but couldn't. Why won't anyone take me dancing?