Ghostland Observatory Warehouse Live October 25, 2012
Lasers. Costumes. Queen-like flights of fancy. Ominous, incredibly sassy beats. Lasers. A steadfast, almost militant, devotion to shaking your ass. And more lasers.
No one will ever accuse Austin's Ghostland Observatory of ever putting on anything less than the best party of the season. Thursday night's set at Warehouse Live, night one of a two-night stand that is becoming an annual tradition in Houston -- a Halloween-time necessity for big-beat and electronica fans. The duo, Aaron Behrens and Thomas Turner, are now old hands at turning Texas audiences into sweaty and sore messes.
The bearded Behrens, now sporting a shorter, cropped 'do -- the pigtails are gone -- prowls the stage with his robotic James Brown shimmy like always, and Turner in cape and Dracula drag handles the beats in the back.
To be fair, costumes at a Ghostland show are not a Halloween thing. Seeing a penguin or a pack of werewolves is pretty standard.
DJ Ceeplus Bad Knives and Bagheera -- making their hometown Houston debut -- massaged the early crowd's joints before Ghostland. Bagheera is a new electronic project from Aidan Kennedy and David Elkins of blues-punkers The Handshake. Kennedy himself played a DJ set this past ACL weekend at a packed posh club in Austin.
Look for Bagheera to be playing a lot more between here and Austin, making a great showing last night, and most importantly, getting people to dance. By the end of their set new fans were screaming for more. Hints of Happy Mondays and LCD Soundsystem were in the air.
Ghostland's overpowering laser show, now a Texas music staple, didn't disappoint, keeping the shit cosmic for nearly two hours. Each time I see them at Warehouse, it seems the crowd keeps getting younger and younger.
As electronic music increasingly becomes the preferred poison for the high-school and college set, they are reaching out to some of the older guard, if you can call Ghostland old-guard. At this point a group like Daft Punk could probably sell-out Reliant Stadium in a few minutes.
Ghostland also came into Houston with a bit of a more aggressive feel to their material. "Dancing On My Grave" and "Rich Man" had more vitriol behind them, and Warehouse's sound system was vibrating everyone from the toes to the top of their skulls.
Round two is tonight at the same place, same times, this time with Dave Wrangler and Benjamin Wesley as opening support. It's nearly sold-out, so get on that now. Free Lasik surgery too to the folks in the front row too.
Personal Bias: My personal bias? I am strongly in favor of lasers.
The Crowd: The thrill of the night was Houston Texans linebacker Connor Barwin making the scene just as Ghostland went on in a full white chicken costume and mask, with crowds of fans and girls flocking to him once they realized who the gigantic cut of poultry was. It's a bye week, so it's time to shake off the stress of the season.
Overheard In the Crowd: "You can get two for fifty if you want, or I can just buy you a beer," said Mr. Drug Dealer to me at the bar.
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Random Notebook Dump: I was pretty excited that I still look young enough for people to attempt to sell me drugs still. A girl needs to feel pretty every now and then.