SHOW REVIEW: SUPERORGANISM @ THE ROXY

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If you are unfamiliar with Superorganism, you should at least know their origin story. The eight-piece band formed as an Internet project between a New Zealand band joined by a young Japanese girl from Maine and other members from England, Australia, and South Korea who now all reside in London together. There’s Orono, Emily, Tucan, Harry, B, Ruby, Soul, and Robert Strange. It is no surprise then that their large, diverse cohort can create such eclectic, experimental electronic pop. The Roxy was an intimate setting to see Superorganism play live between their weekend Coachella appearances. I was able to make my way to the front of the stage where I had a great view of the entire band. Lead vocalist, Orono Noguchi, has a stoic, cool charisma about her that may not seem like it fits Superorganism’s avant-garde beats. The juxtaposition between Orono’s monotone voice and the trippy, drippy sounds is what gives Superorganism’s style of pop its relaxed and laid back, yet lifting vibe. When the band opened with their namesake song, “SPRORGNSM,” they essentially kicked off an infectious dance craze. The crowd instantly bopped to the groove. During the famous “Prawn Song” the crowd got really riled up and started a mild mosh of reckless jumping and boogying. Even so, Superorganism was able to smoothly balance the transitions between their explosive songs with more mellow, hypnotic tracks like “Relax” and “Nobody Cares.” At one point, Orono switched to guitar to let B’s vocals shine during “Hello Me & You” so, she was a few inches in front of me. I would just like to note that Orono makes wearing Croc slides on stage while rockin’ out look super swaggy. The staging for this concert is what really completed the package. Superorganism’s aesthetic is creative, performative, and experiential. (Take a look for yourself on their website wearesuperorganism.com) They take a lot of inspiration from aquatic animals, space, and retro videos and games. On the stage was several screens upon which projections of said things were displayed. There were many flashing colors, multitudes of prawns, hippopotamus, pixelated patterns, amongst various quirky images that created the backdrop for Superorganism’s universe. Although the group is a large ensemble, they all held a deliberate space on stage. The backup vocalists stood draped in glittery robes while holding glowing orbs as they sang and danced with decorative tambourines. The guitarist and keys player were behind a mid-sized screen. The drummer was up front on stage left with colorful paper streamers coming off of his drums. Overall, the bombastic music was amplified by the visuals on stage. For a moment, the audience is invited into Superorganism’s hallucinatory world. What I thought was unique was the diverse crowd that Superorganism was able to attract. There were a handful of very, very young children in attendance. I’m guessing they may have been 8-years old and of course, their older parents were with them. It goes to show that Superorganism attracts a very wide demographic; they are a family-friendly band that appeals to everyone. It’s easy to love Superorganism considering the fan interactions during the concert was very intimate. Orono gave a shout out to a devoted fan that gave the band a gift and even passed off the mic to him to announce the next song since he knew the setlist from seeing them the night before. Then, during their encore--their grand finale--the whole band tossed bouquets of flowers during “Something for your M.I.N.D.” A glorious way to end a glorious show.

Natalie Lee, DJ

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