With festival season right around the corner, EOTO closed off their spring tour with a two night run in Chicago. They are making appearances at many known festivals over the summer including Wakarusa and Summer Camp. They closed out their spring tour with a bang. Sixty shows performed in 64 days and Chicago was the finale of them all, and the rage was one of the strongest. The first night was a tease and an enticing start to the weekend filled with improvised dub and house music by two mind blowing instrumentalists. The old Portage Theater was a perfect setting for the crowd that came to enjoy the evening. Chicagoans know how to rage and by now Micheal Travis and Jason Hann are well aware of the noise and moves that are in the response to their talents. These two guys who shared their skills with String Cheese Incident before EOTO jumped into the scene. They know how to throw down original, unique, and impulsive music that keeps a crowd dancing the whole show. For years now they have put on shows impressing attendees with their ability to create a three hour musical performance with no prerecorded material or set list. The tour closer really grabbed onto the flow of the music projected and kept the attendees grinding the whole time.
Travis and Hann stepped out onto the stage and into their positions tucked away behind their instruments. With grins on their faces the crowd roared with applause and the anticipation for a killer show was lingering in the air. As the music began to be mixed the duo started with tribal like sounds and etchy dash of house. The music progressed into a popping, fast passed, bouncy beat that the crowd waved into motion with. The change in tempo is what hooks you with the type of music that is produced by EOTO. It will be a steady beat then suddenly it progresses into a climactic upbeat or subtle down tempo beat. The way everything is wrapped up is completely mesmerizing. Each member of the duo has their own part and each is particular about the music and beats they throw into the mix. Whether its Travis's house beats or Hann's vocal additions and progressive percussion they both put together their talents to aesthetically call to your senses. The hysterical vocals mixed with the beats of Hann, such as in the first set when Hann breaks into the verse of, “back that ass up.” Slow sexy time music was filtered into the mix as well. The backdrop beats fluid with the exotic vocal remixes. Visually the lights were themed with the first nights where EOTO aliens literally invading in on the theater as the beats flowed through the first set. The pace progressed into a faster more electric rhythm that closed out the set with a bang and brought on an itch for more grooving after the duo stepped off for a set break.
With a jazzy electrified start to the second set, this band had the audience hooked. The twisted sounds that seemed to match the movements that pulsated through the venue. The crowd was hot and sweaty but moving more rapidly as the music bumped out of the speakers and the musicians flailed to create the beats to keep up with the grooving crowd. Vocals were once again present in the second set, always strange and entertaining combined with the back beats. Included in this set towards the end was vocal additions with the lyrics of,“Everyday People.” Incorporating renditions of familiar songs is one of the most entertaining aspects of this band because each version is so warped and unique. Giving thanks to those who made their tour possible EOTO came to the dwindling end of their time in Chicago, though the music seemed to show more power and passion. The encore was blaring with vibrating rhythm. Stepping off the stage, the audience was very grateful for the escape that the music of EOTO takes you to.
On the bottom line, EOTO shows are enchanting, engaging and entertaining. The whirls of familiar beats wrapped in with the visuals, vocals and impressive physical movements of the musicians on their instruments. This is the making of a fabulous performance and this band is nothing less than mind blowing. The personalities are seen as the two just hit the stage like they are in front of a group of friends. It is a truly intimate show and they bring that throughout, whether it is at a festival or in a venue. Be sure to check out EOTO and their live shows if you are heading to any music festivals this summer. This band loves to perform and they show that when they hit the stage, their time in Chicago was definitely a gratifying tour ending experience.