Saturday, December 11, 2010

Show Review - Ghostland Observatory - 12/10/10 - Mr Smalls - Live Review - Concert Review - Pittsburgh

I'm going to be honest, I had never listened to or seen anything by Ghostland Observatory until earlier this week. My only exposure was seeing them as sub headliners on a Coachella or Bonnaroo poster some years back making me curious when they decided to roll through Pittsburgh following in the footsteps of Girl Talk and Wiz Khalifa by playing back-to-back shows. With a venture to youtube I then understood why they were those sub headliners of those popular festivals. Performance.

With an unusual 9:00 PM start time at Mr. Smalls I entered without the usual long wait and was met with warning signs cautioning of haze, lasers, and strobe lights. Oh My. I was late to the show, but you wouldn't of thought it based on the low number of people in the venue. It clearly wasn't sold out even with another hour until Ghostland were to grace the stage. Opener Mux Mool with a laptop and beatbox started while I was walking in mixing beats with cymbal crashes and you could tell something was very, very wrong. Half way into his set he mentioned that they were having technical difficulties, but based on the set remainder one would have to wonder if it even made a difference.

Thirty minutes later the lights went down, bass started to drop, and my ear plugs went in. Positioned at the back I waited to finish a drink before moving closer to the stage and was glad I did. Producer, drummer, and caped crusader Thomas Ross Turner came out first getting his equipment ready then a minute or so later a long haired pigtails-less Aaron Behrens strutted onto the stage. Then, all of a sudden, LASERS! I'm not talking a few laser pointers, I'm talking the most lasers I've ever seen. Seeing the youtube videos is one thing, but seeing them in person left me speechless. Being centered in the back of the venue made it even more remarkable as you could take in the entire show the way it was meant to be seen. After opener "Glitter" from their latest album Codename: Rondo they exploded into "Piano Man" while making their way through different songs from their four album catalog. The highlight of the show was the track tile "Codename: Rondo" as Behrens wondered the stage talking the song's lyrics with bass hits that could probably be heard across the Allegheny River. For different songs Behrens would play guitar with Turner only playing the drums for one song. Makes you wonder why even bring a drum set with you on tour if you're only going to use it once. It didn't matter though, fans and weekend warriors covered in glitter to wearing fairy wings danced the entire set.

For the encore Aaron gave shout outs to the Pittsburgh natives who were responsible for the amazing laser show we had witnessed for the past hour before starting into their hit "Sad Sad City".

Media releases mention Ghostland Observatory as not a band, but rather an agreement between two friends to create something that not only heals their beat-driven hearts, but pleases their rock ‘n roll souls and seeing their show this night proved this to be true. Whether you're into electronica, rock 'n roll, or just pretty lights and lasers having a band like Ghostland in Pittsburgh is something you don't want to miss as they more than likely won't be back anytime soon. You have one more chance tonight and I highly recommend you don't miss it.

--Jonathon Puff