EOTO – Brooklyn Bowl – 2/6/13

The streets of Brooklyn were quiet Wednesday night outside of Williamsburg’s Brooklyn Bowl.  Few fans trickled into the bowling alley/bar/venue to catch a super intimate set from the improv-electronic duo EOTO.

Texas-based DJ/producer Crizzy opened the show for the handful of dedicated music lovers who arrived early.  Playing what he called ‘Crunkstep’, Crizzly blasted trap music mixing all types of hip-hop traps with everything from Ludacris to Willow Smith.  A screen behind him projected a cartoon bear smoking blunts and drinking 40’s.  He experienced technical difficulties mid-set, leaving the venue quiet for about 10 minutes, waiting patiently just to blast us away with the end of his set.  Around 9:30 PM, the dance-floor was only half full. EOTO members Michael Travis and Jason Hann took the stage, stepping inside their now signature lotus flower stage set up.

With Hann on the drums, he built a beat and Travis began layering countless loops and authentic guitar and bass riffs.  They would pause for a minute and start up together with perfect timing.  EOTO has live improvisation down to a science and each layer made the song more elaborate.  Many in the audience were seeing them for the first time.  Even if you have never heard anything by EOTO before, anyone can appreciate watching the process of two guys building complex songs up from one basic idea right in front of them.  “I look up and see him [Hann] drumming a beat with two hands, look away and realize he was playing the same beat with just one hand while singing…it was just really fluid,” said Dan Freire (24) recalling his first EOTO experience.

The projections in their live show are so beautifully done and absolutely mesmerizing.  Bright, vivid colors morphed smoothly along with the music and the shadowy figures from the audience jumped up towards the band.   Across from the stage on the other side of Brooklyn Bowl, bartenders shook drinks along to the drum and bass.

Various themes were played and genres changed gracefully making one continuous set.  Such genres included dub-step, drum n’ bass, hip-hop, etc.  Hann would sing, rap or freestyle during the set, chopping and mixing his own vocals on the spot.  Some songs Hann sampled were “How Low Can You Go?” by Ludacris, “My Girls by Animal Collective, and an amazing rendition of “Jam Rock by Damien Marley (perhaps in respects to Bob Marley’s 65th birthday).  At the end of the 2nd set, EOTO went into a tribal drum session sending the room into a frenzy.

Luckily, EOTO gave us a brief encore before leaving the stage, although the crowd had died down a lot by that point.  The pleased spectators exited the venue, leaving the bathrooms reeking of ganja and bar glasses lining the stage.  Some were lucky enough to be returning to Brooklyn Bowl the next day for their second show, while others simply worried about work the following morning.