December 5, 2010
End of Time Observatory, better known as EOTO, is the electronic brand of Michael Travis and Jason Hann. Though Hann and Travis came into the public eye through their work with The String Cheese Incident, their work with EOTO has now become something of which they are now known. The sound discrepancy between SCI and EOTO could not be more immeasurable, and this is what makes the cultivation of EOTO that much more intriguing. With that said, the mixture of on-the-spot improvised house, dub-step, and overall electronic enchantment has provided quite the harvest for fans of the genre from all corners of Uncle Sam’s realm. On this night, EOTO would bring their traveling electronic circus to Zydeco in Birmingham, AL.
Zydeco is a somewhat historical club that has played host to some stellar acts over the years. It is a single level venue that when packed with sweaty fans under an eight foot ceiling becomes brutally hot to the point that a step out in the 35 degree temperature was complete relief. While this may sound bad, it works on many levels because there is an energy in the place that is intense.
However in spite of this, it has struggled significantly over the past several years. It has become a somewhat dirty club that seems to take pleasure in leaving its patrons waiting on a show in an attempt to sell more zoom zooms, wham whams, microbrews, and Red Bulls. Though it is doubtful, maybe this is why a repugnant fan chose to piss in the sink rather than wait for the two people ahead of him to finish their business. No clue on that one, but he did become the subject of much heckling after the door was "accidentally" left open so that all could witness his foolery. From reports given by those brave enough to look, his utensil was not near the size of his forking ego.
In any event, this was the setting for the scene this night and music was blaring shortly thereafter. When the music hit, thoughts of micro-peen, shitty management, and a sink in bad need of bleach dissipated in rapid time.
Alabama native, Grant Willis aka White Noise, would provide a limbering party/dance set of mostly pre-orchestrated fused samples coupled with a seemingly constant bass under filament. It did the trick quite nicely, bringing patrons out of their comfort zones with their nursed beers closer and closer to the stage where EOTO would take over directly following the set.
Reviewing EOTO is like trying to review a host of trees in autumn. The trees are the same in so many ways, yet quite varied as well. This is the case with EOTO. Their completely improvised fusion style of play and the synthetic splendor that emanates from the gadget filled stage that many a techie has dreamt about pre-nocturnal emission is impeccably grand on the dirtiest of levels. One could see EOTO five nights in a row, and while there would be many similarities in sound, something identical could not be pointed out. Perhaps Jason Hann said it best in an early 2010 Honest Tune interview when he said "it is straight shooting from the hip. Our main goal every night is to keep everybody dancing. If we happen to be in a particular genre like dub-step or electra or house then we will just try and do something different than what we have ever done before or can remember having done before."
This is what keeps the people coming back night after night, and why EOTO has successfully and raucously burst onto the scene. It is raw and emotive to the point that when browsing the crowd in Birmingham, one would be fist pumping while someone else was twirling beside a couple who were eating each others’ faces.
The fact that Hann and Travis have virtually no agenda other than to play something that is rhythmically and melodically trance inducing and impressive to them translated well into the Birmingham crowd. It was a sonic journey for which there was no guide. Therefore, the crowd member was allowed to let the music take its own course. The lack of control in the interplay between Hann and Travis allowed the crowd to lose control. Girls who entered in high heels and designer jeans turned into barefoot hippies while lollipop licking scenesters’ deliberate dance moves changed gears into something with more fluidity. They lost who they were and for a few moments the egos in the room seemed to be deflated. Hopefully this led to no more pissing in the sink post-show.
Click the thumbnail to view David Shehi’s Shots from the show!