James Ferraro, oOoOO, Balam Acab Show Review + mp3 streams
Echoplex, Los Angeles, CA, 12.16.11
The scene last night was a mix of spaced out paranoia and eerie emptiness, as stoned as fuck teens hid in every nook and cranny of the gargantuan Echoplex, like freaked out vampires in fear of the quickly approaching daylight. But this scene quickly changed as the show progressed and turned out to be one of the best electronic shows I’ve been to this year. I may have even caught a glimpse of tha future, and it looks real bright.
The show started an hour late and as James Ferraro approached center stage only a mediocre crowd of fans were gathered up front to catch his set. Now I know James Ferraro makes the kids over at tha now defunct, (RIP) Altered Groans prematurely explode every time he gets within 20 feet of a Macbook, but for me, Mr. Ferraro is extra virgin olive oil boring. I’ve tried, unsuccessfully, on more than one occasion to dig into his tunes, and always come up empty handed. I had the same experience with his live show. His lackluster beats, and pseudo-ironic samples were fun and kinda jazzy, but definitely not jorts creaming material. Not to mention there were no visuals. Isn’t that the reason people go to shows like that? It was more than slightly awkward. Maybe I don’t get it. If you want to know more about James Ferraro he also goes by these aliases: Acid Eagle, Arecaceae, Composition Of The Sensibilities Of Melted Knowledge, Cruisin’ The Nightbiker Strip 1977, D.M.T., Demon Channels, Dreams, Edward Flex, Excel, Jim Ferraro, K2, Liquid Metal, Newage Panther Mistique, Nirvana, Pan Dolphinic Dawn, Pans als Allgott Saturnia, 1977, Sky And Mirrorbalm In Preparation For Deja Vu, Snake Figures Fan, Splash, Teotihuacan, Wave Rave, Wooden Cupboard, The.
After the one who’s name we don’t speak of, exited left, the homie, oOoOO bringin’ that Bay Area ghostly goodness got that shit crackin’. With bass that hits so hard, for a second I thought it was 1994 and I was at a hip hop show off Telegraph and 114th, deep in tha heart of Oakland, this guy made me a believer. His beats pumped a mystifyed energy into the crowd, as if they were almost surprised that a random dude on his laptop can strike such a chord. The combination of drag tempo flows drifting out of the speakers, like some Deathly Hollows Dementer shit, combined with ‘big money RnB’ beats, carefully placed guitar chords and beautifully hollow vocal samples, created a mood that was like a vaccum, sucking you in and not letting go. Guy crushed it.
After returning from the ladies room to dry off after oOoOO’s drip fest, the exceptionally hyped wizard of witchaus wonderment, Balam Acab took to the stage. I knew his set included a live singer, but wasn’t sure what to expect, as often times a live singer with an electronically produced sound can sound disconnected and out of place. This was the opposite of the case with Balam Acab’s show. Creating looping harmonies out of thin air, and weaving crystallized fragments of vocals, beats, synth and drone, Balam Acab was on point last night. Taking the crowd on a magic carpet ride through chopped up rhythms, laced together machine drones and oceanesque fervor, all the while unearthing the depth to which his genius runs…and without a shred of ineptitude in sight. Balam’s stage presence has this endearing earnestness that makes you like him even more, casually chatting up the crowd in between songs illicting some witty banter with fans. His set was just about flawless and captivated me through it’s entirety. As a result, I offer this piece of advice to the haters reppin’ the “I heard he sucks live card,” You must be too high. Come back down to earth and get on the BA train, cuz that shit ain’t stopping and you’re gonna feel like a n00b when you miss it. This kid is the real deal, and then some.