PopMatters is moving to WordPress. We will publish a few essays daily while we develop the new site. We hope the beta will be up sometime late next week.
Reviews

EOTO: 7 December 2013 - Denver, CO

Trance dance space funk, the Mile High City becomes the modern mecca for EDM fans.

EOTO
City: Denver, CO
Venue: The Fillmore Auditorium
Date: 2013-12-07

2012 has come and gone and now 2013 is a memory as well. One thing the current era will be remembered for is how the Denver music scene has surged to challenge New York, LA, or Austin for the top live music scene in the country. Not only does Colorado have great rock and bluegrass scenes, it’s also been ground zero in the EDM explosion (electronic dance music.)

EOTO (End of Time Observatory) has been the pioneering force. The electronica duo of Michael Travis and Jason Hann (members of the String Cheese Incident) have toured the nation relentlessly over the past five plus years to bring their improvised dubstep dance grooves to the public. That same period has seen the rise of EDM as a cultural force. EOTO has played a significant role in demonstrating how the use of live instrumentation and improvisation can elevate EDM to a higher level of artistic merit.

Hann has described EOTO’s sound as “a live improvised alien disco party” and that vibe of cosmic trance dance space funk has been a key attraction. With Hann on drums and Travis improvising on everything from guitar and bass to synths, samplers and more percussion, the duo has developed a uniquely groovy sound which jams in a way most DJs can’t do with pre-recorded music. Yet there’s some dissension in the air in 2013, with locals warning that EOTO’s sound has changed over the past years. Critics have denounced the duo for moving into a more electronic, crunkier direction lacking the instrumentally-inspired jams which previously constituted a large part of EOTO's attraction. But in a heady town like Denver, jaded vets making judgements on the scene are inescapable.

The Denver Fillmore might be a draw as attractive as the EOTO performance. A slew of new Fillmores have opened in recent years around the nation. Skeptics are critical whether these venues are worthy to share the same name. The original Fillmore in San Francisco isn't just a great music venue, it has a legendary musical history and a notable fan-friendly staff. The Denver Fillmore opened in 1999, making it the only other Fillmore that dates to the 20th century, which dons some credibility others lack. The theater's decor also pays homage, with crimson walls, velvet curtains and chandeliers.

Despite the sub-freezing temperature EOTO is ready to heat things up. The duo uses a familiar lotus stage design, with the pair playing inside a large glowing lotus structure for an extra spiritual vibe. The show opens in Saturday night dance party mode with classic alien funk to incite the sizable crowd. The funky grooves still have the vitality and Eastern melodic flavors from Travis that seem much like the EOTO of old in the beginning.

As the evening progresses, there is a sonic trend toward that crunkier, wompier sound. EOTO has always been fond of the “womp womp” that personifies the dubstep genre. Classically, the group displayed a unique flair for mixing in organic flavors by generating infectious melodies on the guitar and bass. Travis certainly doesn’t use the axes as much as he once did, so there seems to be some merit in the reports of a change. Yet the crowd responds well to the evolution of EOTO's sound to match EDM’s overall surge in popularity.

A mere 48 hours earlier, EDM titans Pretty Lights played a sold-out show at the 1,800-capacity Ogden Theater. Scalpers asked three times the ticket price on Craigslist but Pretty Lights impresario Derek Vincent Smith stuck it to the scalpers by releasing 90 tickets at the box office when doors opened. Pretty Lights opened for STS9 at Red Rocks in 2009, and grew to headline their own Red Rocks shows in 2013. This speaks volumes for the growing popularity of the EDM genre. Is EOTO trying to capitalize on that trend? It’s hard to say since they have an outlet for more rock based music in their main band, the String Cheese Incident.

The bottom line remains: the first half of the show was strong on an alien disco party sound. But as the show progressed, the sound seemed to trend in a far more electronic direction, with the last 15-20 minutes of the show questionably pushing the envelope with a pounding electronic bass over-saturation of the sonic spectrum. It appears a sonic evolution of sorts has driven older fans away, yet this change also seems to be drawing in a sizable new contingent. In conclusion, it seems that mileage with EOTO may well vary based on what kind of sonic fuel their fans prefer placing in the tank.

The two-hour set ends at 12:45 am. Friends inside the moe. show have texted that the second set has only recently begun. It’s only a couple blocks away, so this reporter walks up the street and manages to pull a Jedi mind trick to gain entry to catch most of moe.’s second set. The best of both worlds! The Denver music scene is without doubt one of the most happening in the country, with an ever-increasing number of fans relocating here from around the country. Will Denver become the modern mecca for serious music fans? Many people in Colorado will say it already has.

Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology and hosting provider that we have less than a month, until November 6, to move PopMatters off their service or we will be shut down. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to save the site.


Music

Books

Film

Recent
Television

How 'Watchmen' and 'The Boys' Deconstruct American Fascism

Superhero media has a history of critiquing the dark side of power, hero worship, and vigilantism, but none have done so as radically as Watchmen and The Boys.

Music

Floodlights' 'From a View' Is Classicist Antipodal Indie Guitar Pop

Aussie indie rockers, Floodlights' debut From a View is a very cleanly, crisply-produced and mixed collection of shambolic, do-it-yourself indie guitar music.

Music

CF Watkins Embraces a Cool, Sophisticated Twang on 'Babygirl'

CF Watkins has pulled off the unique trick of creating an album that is imbued with the warmth of the American South as well as the urban sophistication of New York.

Music

Helena Deland Suggests Imagination Is More Rewarding Than Reality on 'Something New'

Canadian singer-songwriter Helena Deland's first full-length release Someone New reveals her considerable creative talents.

Music

While the Sun Shines: An Interview with Composer Joe Wong

Joe Wong, the composer behind Netflix's Russian Doll and Master of None, articulates personal grief and grappling with artistic fulfillment into a sweeping debut album.

Music

Peter Frampton Asks "Do You Feel Like I Do?" in Rock-Solid Book on Storied Career

British rocker Peter Frampton grew up fast before reaching meteoric heights with Frampton Comes Alive! Now the 70-year-old Grammy-winning artist facing a degenerative muscle condition looks back on his life in his new memoir and this revealing interview.

Books

Bishakh Som's 'Spellbound' Is an Innovative Take on the Graphic Memoir

Bishakh's Som's graphic memoir, Spellbound, serves as a reminder that trans memoirs need not hinge on transition narratives, or at least not on the ones we are used to seeing.

Music

Gamblers' Michael McManus Discusses Religion, Addiction, and the Importance of Writing Open-Ended Songs

Seductively approachable, Gamblers' sunny sound masks the tragedy and despair that populate the band's debut album.

Books

Peter Guralnick's 'Looking to Get Lost' Is an Ode to the Pleasures of Writing About Music

Peter Guralnick's homage to writing about music, 'Looking to Get Lost', shows how good music writing gets the music into the readers' head.

Film

In Praise of the Artifice in George Cukor's 'Sylvia Scarlett'

George Cukor's gender-bending Sylvia Scarlett proposes a heroine who learns nothing from her cross-gendered ordeal.

Music

The Cure: Ranking the Albums From 13 to 1

Just about every Cure album is worth picking up, and even those ranked lowest boast worthwhile moments. Here are their albums, spanning 29 years, presented from worst to best.

Television

The 20 Best Episodes of 'Star Trek: The Original Series'

This is a timeless list of 20 thrilling Star Trek episodes that delight, excite, and entertain, all the while exploring the deepest aspects of the human condition and questioning our place in the universe.

Music

The 20 Best Tom Petty Songs

With today's release of Tom Petty's Wildflowers & All the Rest (Deluxe Edition), we're revisiting Petty's 20 best songs.

Joshua M. Miller
Music

The 11 Greatest Hits From "Greatest Hits" Compilations

It's one of the strangest pop microcosms in history: singles released exclusively from Greatest Hits compilations. We rounded 'em up and ranked 'em to find out what is truly the greatest Greatest Hit of all.

Music

When Punk Got the Funk

As punks were looking for some potential pathways out of the cul-de-sacs of their limited soundscapes, they saw in funk a way to expand the punk palette without sacrificing either their ethos or idea(l)s.

Music

20 Hits of the '80s You Might Not Have Known Are Covers

There were many hit cover versions in the '80s, some of well-known originals, and some that fans may be surprised are covers.

Music

The Reign of Kindo Discuss Why We're Truly "Better Off Together"

The Reign of Kindo's Joseph Secchiaroli delves deep into their latest single and future plans, as well as how COVID-19 has affected not only the band but America as a whole.

Books

Tommy Siegel's Comic 'I Hope This Helps' Pokes at Social Media Addiction

Jukebox the Ghost's Tommy Siegel discusses his "500 Comics in 500 Days" project, which is now a new book, I Hope This Helps.


Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews



Features
Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.