Photo: Aubrey Edwards
Nothing is more refreshing than attending a show where the crowd is totally absorbed in what’s happening on stage. On the final night of February Birthquake and The Octopus Project delivered captivating and joy-inducing performances at The Urban Lounge in Salt Lake City.
Both bands that I saw that night had played an earlier set at Kilby Court, but the busy evening didn’t do anything to dull their later performances. The Octopus Project and opening act Birthquake delivered engrossing shows that kept crowd members transfixed.
When I arrived Birthquake was just getting started. As usual, the Whittaker brothers delivered a high-energy set with an extremely exuberant stage performance that left me beaming. Watching these boys on stage never gets old. The bouncy music, which at times sounds straight from an ‘80s video game, coupled with the infectious smiles that never seem to leave the band members faces made for a fun and upbeat performance.
After Birthquake had wrapped up their set, members of The Octopus Project slowly began assembling their gear on stage. A white curtain was hung over the typical black, a giant fake octopus was positioned near the back of the stage and Yvonne Lambert, who was dressed in a sparkly tube dress, began setting up her theremin. Although the set up did seem to take forever, by the time the group took the stage I felt my initial impatience slip away. An epic light show, combined with the odd and catchy grooved out electronic space indie, made for something close to that otherworldly experience you get when you drop acid at a weekend-long music festival. Keep in mind—this was a performance at the Urban Lounge on a Monday night—not exactly the time or place where you expect to have your mind blown. Luckily, The Octopus Project did just that.
Although it would be easy for The Octopus Project to simply stand behind their instruments while playing live, as many groups in the vein so often do, The Octopus Project seemed fully engaged with what they were doing. Throughout their set band members were seen swapping gear to keep things interesting. Although all the instrument swapping was fun to watch, I have to admit I spent most of my time focused on the theremin. The somewhat archaic instrument gave the music a spooky feel and watching various band members take turns coaxing the eerie noises out of it was simply delightful. If the Octopus Project performs at this caliber on a Monday night, I’d love to see what they’re like on a Friday.