Bumbershoot 2017, Day Three: ODESZA

Bumbershoot, Local Music, Live Reviews
09/04/2017
Gabe Pollak
all photos by Morgen Schuler

ODESZA's set at Bumbershoot this weekend was a homecoming blowout of epic proportions. No, literally, the energy of the Seattle electronic duo's high-production value show -- which included smoke machines, flamethrowers, a few exciting guests, and much, much more -- temporarily blew out the power at Memorial Stadium.

And what a gig it was for ODESZA to go through technical difficulties. After their first song, ODESZA's Harrison Mills had professed the group's excitement about headlining the Bumbershoot Music & Arts Festival, one of the biggest festivals in their home city. "This is a bucket list moment for us," he said triumphantly from on top of an enormous DJ riser. But the setting wasn't the only thing making this special occasion. ODESZA's Bumbershoot was also set to be their last performance before releasing their highly anticipated new album, A Moment Apart, which comes out this Friday.

And then, 20 minutes into their set, halfway through one of ODESZA's biggest songs, "Say My Name (ft. Zyra)," the power went out. At first, it seemed like part of the show. The colorful visuals on the Jumbotron went dark and the stage lights went down, but the song continued to chirp softly from somewhere onstage, leaving fans to wonder if ODESZA had only softened the music to encourage the crowd sing out. After all, what was the alternative? The possibility that some unexpected technical difficulties could screw up ODESZA's special night was beyond belief, therefore, instead of giving up hope, the crowd tried to keep the show going on their own. The funny part was that "Say My Name," had stopped during a section of sliced up vocal samples, leaving fans to wholeheartedly mumble parts of the song that no one was ever really intended to sing anyway.

If you think about it another way though, "Say My Name," was perhaps the best song to have lower power on. While the outage must have been frustrating for ODESZA, it may have been heartening for them to hear how well the crowd knew the song and how committed they were to keeping it going. To put it in terms fitting of the stadium venue, there may have been an injury on the play, but ODESZA were still playing with a home court advantage. Fans wouldn't walk out on the band that easily.

Or at least, not for at least a couple minutes. As the wait grew longer, some people turned to each other confused and left, others capitalized on the empty spaces left behind and rushed to fill the gaps, while still others shouted useful suggestions like "Ctrl, Alt, Delete!" and "Did you try turning it off on and on again?" Elsewhere, a brief sing-along of Biz Markie's "Just a Friend," broke out to fill the silence.

And then, six minutes later, a long time in "I've been waiting to see this band all weekend!" land, red and blue lights turned out tentatively towards the crowd, the speakers rumbled back to life, and our heroes ODESZA came back to the stage, their resolve to put on a bucket list-worthy show only further emboldened. "Seattle Center just lost power but I don't give a fuck!" said ODESZA's Clayton Knight to a roar of approval. "We're going to play more music for you."

The vibe had been damaged, but not broken, and ODESZA had a little bit of making up to of making up to do. A handful of exciting guests -- Naomi Wild on "Higher Ground," WYNNE on "Line of Sight," and the whole ODESZA drumline for closer "It's Only," -- and a few big hits helped bring the energy level back up to stay. Soul singer Leon Bridges' guest spot on "Across the Room," a soon-to-be-released laid back track perfectly suited to Bridges' warm and vintage vibe, was another definite delight.

The next time the stage lights turned off, thankfully, it was when the crew began taking down the stage. At the end of the night, it may not have been how ODESZA planned on checking off their bucket list goal of headlining Bumbershoot, but what's a good show without a few surprises? ODESZA handled it all in stride, gifting themselves a proper homecoming with a strong local crowd, and providing fans a fitting end to another year of music at Seattle Center.

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