Peopleodian's recent performance at Denton DIY venue The Gazebo was far from flawless—blame the guitar amp the band was playing through—but the flaws that did exist weren't enough to stop the crowd from filling the cold night air with peals of applause after every song.
The Denton-based act started as a creative outlet for James Washington, who uses a vocoder, MiniKorg and a Nintendo DS to write songs that sound like something from a soundtrack to a 1950s sci-fi flick or a Tim Burton-directed dream-sequence. When performed live, TVs flickering with random images and looped sequences add to the song's dreamy, atmospheric quality.
"I wanted to do something where the music is kinda slow and dreamlike," Washington says, "and I want the audience to be free to drift off and think of other things."
Back to the fans and audience: Since playing its first "formal" gig at Hailey's in August and adding Chris Bryan on drums and (on a few songs) Ally Hoffmann on vocals, Peopleodian's been sharing stages with acts like The Hand Combine, New Science Projects and Sans Solei—basically, bands with guitars who could play unplugged or without things like a Nintendo, a PA, some old televisions and a looped video accompaniment.
"For some reason, the Denton folk rock crowd kinda liked us first, and we were trying to book shows, saying yes to everything," Bryan says.
So far, it's a strategy that's allowed the band to iron out many of its live-performance kinks, ranging from which video to play during a performance to who would sing Washington's lyrics. But, for Peopleodian, which sounds at times like a slowed-down, drugged-out Black Moth Super Rainbow and is named for an instrument invented by Bruce Haack, one of the pioneers of electronic music, those gives have led to a few misunderstandings. Says Hoffman: "After we played at Dan's, some of my friends from Dallas came up to me after the show." They liked it, Hoffman says, but said they thought Peopleodian was gonna be more "folky."
"Obviously, there's a big country-folk movement here," Bryan says. "And then, there's a lot of electronic, experimental groups. But we just haven't played any shows with them yet or really connected with those groups yet."
Until Peopleodian can buy its own PA, Washington says, the band will take a break from playing house shows. And when it does get back to playing around Denton, expect more appropriate acts surrounding the band: Peopleodian recently reached out to both Darktown Strutters and Florene about sharing a future bill.
Sounds like an excellent idea to me.
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