Ghostland Observatory at the Masquerade, Atlanta, GA, September 18, 2010. Photo by Jeff Pearson.
Originally published by Life’s Sweet Breath
The ascension to Heaven in the Masquerade brings with it a noticeable change in the air. The clear Atlanta night gives way to a thick, stifling atmosphere that lets those climbing the stairs know they’ll be swimming in it for the next two hours. Swimming in sweat, body heat, menacing electronica, and lights. All of this points to one thing: Ghostland Observatory must be in town.
There is an almost tangible energy in the room, green laser pointers crawling and dancing on the ceiling fans, MGMT’s “Electric Feel” starting the dance party off early on the PA. The energy balls up and rolls over the entire crowd, gaining momentum and fervor until the house lights drop and the ball of energy bursts through the darkness. Thomas Turner and Aaron Behrens saunter onstage to deep synth drones and huge applause. The opening notes of “Piano Man” cue anarchy that won’t find order until well into the night. For now, Turner’s punishing, gritty production is the law and Behrens is reading our rights.
The duo burn through classic after classic, including “Strange Lover”, “Vibrate”, “Midnight Voyage”, “Move With Your Lover”, and “Sad, Sad City”, all from 2006 breakthrough Paparazzi Lightning. “Midnight Voyage” has the cape-clad Turner building a slow groove sailing a sea of lasers with Behrens pulling a bluesy riff straight from the heart of his Fender Telecaster. This builds and builds, the crowd working themselves into a frenzy, from the flailing arms towards the front, to the circles of friends towards the back exchanging dance moves, from classics such as the Robot and Running Man to new schools of rhythm like the Craig-Leg.
The night was also a showcase for new songs off their soon-to-be-released Codename: Rondo (October 26), with Ghostland Observatory pounding bass into the room with “Miracles”, “Glitter”, “Freeze”, “Kick Clap Speaker” and title track “Codename: Rondo”. Rarely does a band pull of a set with a set list so heavily new, but the duo ripped through the material with command and implications that the crowd will love it, and love it they did.
Once order was sadly restored to Heaven, it was already too late. The crowd left with the feeling that they had all gotten away with something. Such filthiness must be illegal.