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Credit: Michael-John Aprahamian

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DMNW review: ODESZA kickstarts tour in Seattle and jaws drop

In case you missed it, last weekend was all about ODESZA. The Bellingham, Washington-founded duo embarked on their tour in support of their fourth and final full-length album, The Last Goodbye. Seattle was ablaze with excitement, and it felt like the entire city showed their support throughout the weekend at 3 sold-out shows at the Climate Pledge Arena. Read the full DMNW review below.

 

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The Weekend of ODESZA

Leading up to their shows at Climate Pledge, ODESZA flaunted their PNW roots (respectably so). They launched a pop-up store in South Lake Union a few days before the shows began all the way through the weekend. From the minute the store opened, lines stretched around the block with well over 100 people waiting at peak times.

 

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In addition, executives from the King County government declared Friday, July 29 to be “ODESZA Day.” The proclamation cited the duo’s Grammy nominations, 5 billion global streams, and being the first artist to sell out three consecutive shows at Climate Pledge in the arena’s history. Their legacy as one of (if not the) most prominent electronic music acts to come out of the PNW has certainly not gone unrecognized.

For the last decade, ODESZA has continued to push electronic music forward. They continue to beautifully weave sounds that speak both to our minds and our hearts, which was a triumphant theme of The Last Goodbye. They’ve refined their sound and have explored new ideas, all without sacrificing who they are at their core. Kickstarting their tour by paying homage to their hometown was an excellent way to honor their roots.

Openers Ford and Sylvan Esso dazzle

Ford, the Utah-based electronic producer, opened up the night with his ethereal tunes and playful beats. Ford played many tracks off of his latest album The Color of Nothing. Although it was a short set and navigating the new arena can be difficult, the crowd started filling out towards the end of his performance.

After Ford, Sylvan Esso took over. The Grammy-nominated electro-pop duo from North Carolina brought a vibrant energy to the stage. Passionate vocals and live use of drum machines, synths, and effects gave a very human feel to the performance. Their light melodies and organic house beats were a perfect act to lead into ODESZA.

ODESZA takes the stage and goes wild

We didn’t know exactly what to expect with ODESZA’s set, aside from knowing that it would be immaculate and captivating. Somehow still, they surpassed all of our expectations. From the stage design, to their live drum line, to their track list, everything was perfect.

For their hour and a half long set, they played songs from across their discography including old classics, remixes of recent releases, and of course songs off of The Last Goodbye. They even played two songs from their BRONSON side project with Australian producer Golden Features.

As far as production goes, it was top notch. They utilized the venue’s spotlights and wrap-around video walls to create stadium-wide scenes and mind-bending displays. The pyrotechnics and fireworks throughout the show were perfectly timed with the combination of music and massive explosions and spouts of fire.

Credit: Michael-John Aprahamian

It’s impossible to not credit the ODESZA Drumline for their performance. The group added a spectacular live element to the show, both musically and choreographically.

Emotions were high and the eagerness could be felt throughout Climate Pledge. You could practically see hairs on the back of necks standing as the arena lights went dark seconds before ODESZA took the stage. And then that first note of the melody hit, and a rush of emotions welled up.

The duo did nothing short of dazzling us the whole 90 minutes. It was a a cinematic body of work, with Clayton Knight and Harrison Mills at the helm, triumphing at their meld of various electronic styles and feels. Truly, there was a shared sentiment ringing through the crowd: This is how music should feel.

Heading to the afterparty in great spirits

There was a palpable rush at the end of the show into the night. After the shows on Friday and Saturday night, there was an official afterparty at Showbox. We attended the Friday night afterparty, where Phantoms and Jai Wolf both carried the high energy from the ODESZA show into the night.

Although the line to get into the venue wrapped around the block with the surge of attendees coming straight from Climate Pledge, we made it through quickly and the venue packed out from there. It was a blast dancing and singing to more of the house side of things with Phantoms, who were also jumping and stoked to be there. Jai Wolf came on and played some favorite hits and mashups to end the night.

Is there really ever a last goodbye?

It’s safe to say this was one of the most memorable shows we’ve attended in quite a while. Even for how high our expectations were, we were still blown away. Now, we’re left with one burning question that they’ve also raised: is there ever really a last goodbye?

No one knows what the future holds for the ODESZA project, if they’ll continue to release and tour under a different side project (BRONSON, perhaps?), or host another Sundara festival, or any number of other options. We’re honored in the PNW to share roots with such a pioneering duo, and their legacy as an artist is something that we could never truly say goodbye to.

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