April 13, 2011
Laser Dome at the Pacific Science Center
Laser shows and dance music aren't exactly a match>"/>
Laser shows and dance music aren't exactly a match made in heaven--the former conjures visions of pothead high-schoolers kicking back, relaxing, and listening to The Wall as a live iTunes visualizer flashes above their heads, while the latter requires, well, dancing. So if the idea of Beat Connection playing the Laser Dome at the Pacific Science Center seems slightly incongruous, it is. But here's the crazy thing: It almost worked.
It's important to point out that for Beat Connection--Jordan Koplowitz and Reed Juenger--not fitting the venue isn't at all a bad thing. Theirs is music that begs to be danced to, and for much of the crowd, Wednesday night, dancing wasn't an option--most of the audience chose to stay reclined in chairs or laid stationary on the floor.
The main issue that the Science Center holds for live music is that watching it requires dueling focus points: the band performing and the lasers on the ceiling. During Universal Studios Florida's opening set, this wasn't much of a problem: their hazy, sample-and-loop-based electronica fit seamlessly with the laser show, and it was easy to sit back and take it all in.
Then Beat Connection started, and the atmosphere changed completely. With each climax of their opener, Surf Noir standout "Theme From Yours Truly," more and more people got up off the floor and began dancing. By song's end, a group of around 50 were on their feet, and they stayed there for the remainder of the show. Highlights included hearing live vocoder on the newly released "Space Vacation" and the menacing, beefed-up live version of single "Silver Screen" that closed the show.
The unfortunate thing is that most of the crowd was too immersed in the lasers to fully appreciate the music. But regardless, Beat Connection have stepped up their live act--everything sounds crystal-clear, and the duo's stage presence is steadily increasing--and on Wednesday, they came close to making the Pacific Science Center their own personal discotheque.
Random Notebook Dump: The Science Center wins the award for "most difficult venue to take a decent concert photo for use on a music blog." Flash photography is expressly prohibited, and without it, it's hard to do too much on a cell-phone camera in a dark room.
Overheard: You can't overhear very much when neither of the bands have live vocals and most of the audience is too immersed in the laser show to make any witty asides. So the comment of the night goes to the P.A. guy, who urged the crowd to go out and buy concessions, which was odd to hear at a concert.
BTW: It would be nice if people stopped calling Beat Connection a chillwave act, because they aren't. Their production is too crisp and their live show is far too good to lump them into this category.