Ghostland Observatory and Night Drive Musical Takeover In Austin and Houston Texas
What better way to close out 2017 than with 80’s inspired synth magic, and lasers . . . lots of lasers. Last weekend, both Houston and Austin had an opportunity to experience just that as locals rang in the new year with frigid temperatures – a bittersweet miracle for Texans who rarely experience a “real winter” and groovy music. On the night before New Years Eve, the state of Texas showcased its musical diversity and prowess with Houston-Austin Duo, Night Drive, and Austin residents, Ghostland Observatory, taking the stage at White Oak Music Hall in front of a packed crowd.
Opening the evening, Night Drive captivated the audience with driving bass lines, Vocoder based lyrics and a plethora of great hair products that kept lead singer, Rodney Connell’s hair perfectly coifed throughout the entire set. With exquisite purple backlighting and a washed out projector setting the scene behind them, Connell and bandmate, Brandon Duhon, ripped through crowd favorites such as Drones, Rise and Fall, After Dark, and Trapeze Artist Regrets, preparing the audience for the soon-to-be-seen Ghostland Observatory. Riding the wave of the recent release of their self titled album, Night Drive, there is not doubt that the audience came early, not only to get a great spot for Ghostland Observatory, but to witness the musical fusion of 80’s synths and modern pop, first hand during Night Drive’s invigorating performance.
Soon thereafter, as the crowd anxiously awaited the return of Ghostland Obseratory from down the road in Austin, Texas, audience members could see the sides of the stage begin to fill with invited guests, photographers, and both Connell and Duhon from earlier in the evening. As soon as Night Drive’s equipment was removed from the stage, the lights dimmed to near pitch-black and fans squeezed as close as they could to the front to immerse themselves in the coming madness of lights and lasers.
To no surprise, Ghostland Observatory snuck on stage amidst only the shimmer of lights from the bar at the back of the venue and exploded into their performance with an incredible display of lights and lasers during their first song. Moving efficiently between crowd favorites and lesser known tunes, anticipation continued to build in the air as fans waited to hear all-time greats like Sad Sad City and Kick Clap Speaker, which appeared later in the band’s setlist. With a time allotment of over an hour and a half to fill, members Aaron Behrens and Thomas Turner felt no pressure to meet the often-stressful time slots of music festivals and turned four minute songs into five and six minute jam sessions where synths migrated in and out of the speakers as Behrens vocals and guitar took over and vice versa. By the end of the evening, fans had worked up a serious sweat, but had all expectations of an eventful evening satisfied by two incredible Texas duos that combined epic retro-inspired discographies with mesmerizing lighting displays for a three-hour spectacle worth remembering in 2018.
Coverage & Photography by Marshall Heins II
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