A Review of EOTO at the Crofoot: The Power of Electronic Cheese
by Kevin Tshiamala
EOTO is an electronic music power duo comprised of members of the String Cheese Incident. As they stated in their HEAR interview, they started playing together in 2006 and have played over 800 shows since their inception. What sets them apart from the abundance of packaged EDM proves at times to also be their Achilles’ heel. EOTO’s music is completely improvised, and that gives it a raw, energetic, participating-like experience unique from any other. Unfortunately, improvisation has a dark side. I experienced that dark side the last time I saw EOTO in 2010 at The Blind Pig in Ann Arbor. When the wavelengths between Jason Hann and Michael Travis are not in sync, the music suffers terribly. Fortunately, I had seen them prior to 2010 and when they are in sync, their improvised, hard hitting, bass-heavy music is the crème de la crème of EDM. This is exactly what took place at the Crofoot in November 2013. One of the toughest obstacles for EOTO was building up their fan base; the cheese heads, at least at first, were not interested. It took a few years but tonight at the Crofoot, the EOTO community was out in full force: wooks, cheese heads, tank top bros, umphreaks, raver girls, noobs, techno vets, and more showed up. The venue was far from left with an intimate stage, main floor, and horseshoe balcony. From the first sound, everything was right in the world. Jason Hann started the night off with a heavy drum beat setting the mood. Soon thereafter, Michael Travis joined in sending mass vibrations of bass. From the balcony I saw the crowd bouncing, swaying, and waving their hands up and down in unison. Walking around there were people hooping and strobing. There were some doing a rendition of what seemed to be the hippie crip walk. The concert goers were sweating, smiling, and often times making that war head face when the bass got too nasty. This was no place for grinding; no place for the proper. This was a place for expression; a place for the wicked. An hour and a half into the show and EOTO was just wrapping up their first set. The second set started and the show carried on without a lapse in excitement or energy. This was a tremendous feat for any live act, but an even more extraordinary feat for a band that is making the music up as they go. EOTO continued to prove that they are a force to be reckoned with, especially when in sync. There are very few bands that have live acts and bring together a great community, such as EOTO. They’ll be touring for the next few months and if they come your way, make sure to check them out.