On an otherwise dead night, on the nearly vacant Elm Street strip, Toronto's Odonis Odonis headlined an impressive night of experimental synths and heavy riffs. Though the turnout was low, and the show ran unusually late for a Tuesday in Deep Ellum, something special happened last night at Club Dada. By pairing local synth thrashers Hex Cult on the bill with the Canadian industrial shoegaze outfit, King Camel Productions put together a strong night of experimental music that was really too good to be missed.
Walking into the venue to the sounds of Denton's melodic pop-rock trio, Bashe, was soothing and sweet. But it was not a telling indicator of the kind of energy the rest of the night's performers would bring to the stage. Bashe's math rock-influenced guitar runs and down-tempo drum beats hung languidly in the air. It was slow and sweet, which you couldn't possibly say about the hard and fast performances that were still yet to come.
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Local synth-distorting duo Hex Cult threw up a hard left turn shortly thereafter. As they thrashed and flopped around the stage, the steady and droning beat of their disjointed melodies seemed to draw in the small crowd, leaving them wanting more and more with each roar through the heavily filtered microphones. About halfway through the set, synth player and vocalist Tesh Cwalino stepped down off the stage to perform from the floor, rolling around in the fetal position and wailing into his mic with a pillow on his head. Before they wrapped it up, Cwalino graciously thanked King Camel Productions' Jeff Brown for covering the costs of some equipment the band had recently had stolen, just so the duo wouldn't miss the gig.
Odonis Odonis, who had emerged from the crowd to check their equipment after watching the show with the rest of the audience, went on a little after 11:30. Though the dwindling crowd was anxious and ready for the headliner, their concerns seemed to go out the window when the first notes rang out. As colored static patterns projected onto the trio, they pounded through fast and intense bursts of their latest effort, Hard Boiled Soft Boiled. The transfixed onlookers stood close to the edge of the stage, not wanting to miss a single second of the band's short but satisfying set.
Hard hitting digital drum effects permeated Odonis Odonis' swirling, noise-drenched, wringing guitars. Its hard not to scoff and roll your eyes at the myriad of genre-fusion buzzwords that pop up in blog rhetoric every week. But when Odonis Odonis describes themselves as "industrial shoegaze", they're hitting the nail right on the head: It felt primal, hypnotic and somehow serene in its chaos.
Here's hoping they make it back to Dallas soon, because they're an ideal act to complement Dallas' burgeoning electronic and experimental music scene.