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Friday, March 4

Review/Photos: EOTO w/ VibeSquaD - 2.19.11 - SF, CA

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EOTO w/ Bogl/Dials – VibeSquaD 
February 19th – Mezzanine SF
Words: Sahil Mehta

While I do consider myself quite the Dubstep aficionado, I am embarrassed to admit that I knew very little about EOTO prior to this concert. In preparation for the night, I spent hours researching and listening to anything I could find by/on them. After becoming well versed with their catalog and biography, I set my sights on seeing them live; what fans refer to as “The EOTO Experience”.
The night was set to take place at one of San Francisco’s premier nightclubs, The Mezzanine. Opening the night were San Francisco locals, Bogl and Dials, who had come together for a 2-hour DJ-Versus set featuring the latest in Dubstep and Hyphy. I wish I had kind words to say about their set, but I don’t. While both are skilled DJs in their own respect, together they are a train wreck. Taking control of the decks, one at a time, Bogl and Dials failed to adequately get the party started; the responsibility of an opener DJ. Their track selection was excellent, but as a duo, they lacked the ability to behave cohesively as a team. Instead, each chose to play whatever track they wanted to hear regardless of its fit within the mix.
 Following the DJ duo was Colorado favorite, VibeSquaD. His unique blend of bone-shattering bass and melodic synthesizer work is always a pleasure to hear. One thing I have to mention about him, and this is an important trait in a DJ, is that his stage presence is a sight for sore eyes as far as laptop DJs go. The energy he brings to the stage makes you feel guilty for having less fun than him. Portraying a huge smile and jumping up and down, VibeSquaD kicked the party in to high gear. Blending tracks off his recent album, the FIRE, and premiering a few never before heard tracks, he created a highly energetic party atmosphere which was a delight to this reviewer. The only negative thing I have to say about VibeSquaD is that his set lacked the variety I desire in an hour of music. After about 25 minutes, I found that the producer’s acid-crunk, hyphy bass sound began to lose its charm. Despite this minor flaw, the crowd, and myself, appeared to enjoy his set as he was left with loud roars and cheers all around.
 The packed house was now ready for what I can only describe as the “musical madness” that EOTO was about to bring. Brandishing what is most easily described as a “mobile sound studio”, EOTO took the stage to the delight of hundreds of fans. Their sound, being delivered by 4 stacks of Funktion-One sound and 2 JBL Full Stacks, was flawless. Michael Travis and Jason Hann, aka EOTO, put on a truly unique live show. Working in perfect unison with one another, they redefined what I believed was possible out of a live hardware set. Michael Travis’ top notch synthesizer work made for building shaking bass lines that continued, one after another, to drive the crowd to the brink of dance insanity. His work didn’t end there, though. When he wasn’t producing bass lines, he was delicately crafting high end melodies using any and all instruments available; his voice, an electric guitar, and bongos among many others. The precise drum work of Jason Hann was integral to the overall experience as well. More than just keeping time, he used his drum set, in perfect unison with the melody, to control the energy of the set. The duo left no stone unturned, whether it was a club-style banger or a groovy breakdown, the jam band veterans proved that no sound is outside of their reach. I was also very pleased to see the duo incorporate some of the true roots of jam band and jazz philosophy in to their electronic production. If I was blind, I would have been shocked to find out that these two were producing all of the music on the fly. The variation in the set was more impressive than that of most quality DJs. More impressive than the variation is the fact that they did so in rapid succession; this made sure that there was never a dull moment. 

 EOTO, who are clearly older than your standard Dubstep artist, look like they are still having a blast on stage. Looks like a couple of old dogs can do more than learn a few new tricks; they can teach them as well. I think it’s safe to say they have made a new fan out of me and that the only way I’ll miss another one of their performances is if I am in a coma.