My shirt stuck to my back, and small pools of sweat were stuck to my upper lip. I was completely soaked, and at that point the layer of moisture I was dressed in belonged to the surrounding heavy mass of bodies more so than myself. I was tired, hot, and so freaking thirsty. I was waiting at the water refill station at Firefly music festival, and 15 minutes into waiting I thought I might just give up and spend four whole dollars on a bottled water. As I got hit by clouds of marijuana and splashes of water from all different directions, a tribal-like electronic drum boomed from the stage about 500 feet behind me. Suddenly, my head started bobbing. Then my fingers were snapping. The next thing I knew I was dancing in a circle, creating more sweat, getting thirstier by the minute, but having the time of my life. As the water line turned into a dance party, I discovered that the booming drums I heard was ODESZA, and the hour-long wait for water was worth more than I ever imagined it'd be.
Though I couldn't see Harrison Mills and Clayton Knight on stage at Firefly, listening to their entire set in that water line made me an instant fan, so naturally I hopped on the opportunity to go see them (on purpose this time) at Terminal 5 Sunday night. I made one of their three sold out shows at Terminal 5 for their tour for their 2014 album, In Return, and I discovered that seeing ODESZA before my eyes was way different than hearing their echo in the water line. Mills and Knight performed before enormous screens and blinding lights, while their cinematic visuals and the schizophrenic light show were timed perfectly with their atmospheric beats.
Entering the stage in complete darkness, the Seattle duo introduced themselves with a thunderous drum and enormous bright lights. Instantly, we all moved as one, and there was no turning back. Strangers next to me draped their arms around me while we screamed lyrics together (if there were any), laughing, smiling, and dancing our asses off. When I wasn't being grabbed by the hand to dance, I would stand on my tiptoes to try to get a glimpse the artists blowing my mind, and the speakers for that matter. What I saw were two completely black outlines of men bobbing their heads and striking their launchpads in complete ecstasy. What surprised me was the outline of a drumkit next to these launchpads, and at one point Mills and Knight abandoned their boards and were ferociously banging the drums. The musicians looked primitive, and mad. Between their manic drumming, a guitarist stood dead center before the illuminated panels, like a twisted religious icon. The surprises didn't end there. Along with the live drums, guitar, and the infectious electronic hooks, ODESZA even had a small horn section made up of a trumpet and trombone player, one on stage right, the other stage left.
I was beside myself when they played their remix of a track by Colorado DJ Pretty Lights, "One Day At a Time," and I also found a pure moment of camaraderie when ODESZA had all of us pull out our lighters or our cell phones for their remix of Hayden James' "Something About You."
Everyone went absolutely nuts when they played their remix of ZHU's "Faded," with the saint-like guitarist playing the dark chord progression as Mills and Clayton lost themselves in their intricate drumming.
One of the greatest points of the show was the moment, and song we were all waiting for. Arguably the most popular song by ODESZA, when the first few notes of "Say My Name" started over the speakers, the entire venue was engulfed in screams and howls. There wasn't a single body standing still, and when the song ended, the stage went dark and we thought ODESZA was done. The boy next to me shared a glance with me, and we started clapping, chanting "ONE MORE SONG!" until lo and behold, ODESZA returned and finished out the night with unreleased trap remix of Alex Adair's "Make Me Feel Better" and AWOLNATION's "Run." This song was where white confetti exploded all over all of us, and even though I didn't want the night to be over, that was when the night was made.