Well, OK, not, like, *that* much more. But a lot more than I thought when I walked into the heaving crowd at the Honda stage for Odesza's set on Friday night at ACL Weekend Two.
For one thing, glow sticks are basically child's play for fans of the electronic act. Here is an incomplete list of light-up things I saw as I traced a half circle back and forth through the crowd so I could experience the show from every angle: hula hoops, a green glowing alien, fireworks, a jellyfish, a flower staff, glowing rainbow shoes, rainbow light-up wings on a little girl, rainbow light-up wings on an adult person, light-up shoelaces (not to be confused with the shoes), the tiny flickers of light coming from an uncountable number of lighters, a raincoat with a blue neon LED lining, a flashing pink and green sign that said "squad up," some Tronlike blue and pink light-rimmed glasses, gloves with little lights at the end of each finger, a glowing orange geometric wolf head ... that projects red dots!
And of course, a lotta glow sticks.
PHOTOS: ACL Day 1, Weekend 2, you're something else
But the point I'm making here is that Odesza fans are creative and passionate. They're also really nice. While the electronic artists were projecting strobes of every color into the crowd, I had a lovely chat with the owner of the aforementioned Tron glasses, a man by the name of Mike Biuso from Long Island by way of Boston, and his friend with the light-up gloves — also named Mike, last name Tice, from Long Island by way of Chicago. I asked about their gear, and they eagerly insisted I try on another fun acquisition: a pair of light-refracting plastic glasses that make all the colors more colorful and all the lights more ... lightsy. It was gently psychedelic, and I liked it very much. Tice told me about his "gloving," in which his hands flow and move constantly in time with the music: "gloving is my comfort thing." The friends were having a blast at the Odesza show, but they told me they were planning to split their time and check out Paul McCartney later in the night.
Not everyone in the Odesza crowd felt the same; I overheard one young guy mercilessly refer to the Beatles legend as "old Paul."
Another thing to mention: While Odesza is not exactly the Lonely Hearts Club Band, I was surprised to learn that the group performs electronic music with a live trumpet player, trombone player and full-on drumline. Those pulsating live drum beats in particular were a surprisingly powerful way to liven up a show that — with fireworks and elaborate light displays and bass drops galore — was already pretty lively.
That's one thing Amelia Deschenes from Chicago, the owner of the lit shoelaces, told me she loves about Odesza: They offer "chill vibes layered with something more exciting." Although most bass-heavy, light show-focused electronic music is not my jam, I get where she's coming from. The group does a great job of balancing sweeping epic sounds with more frenetic moments. I got hit by a lot of errant limbs during this set, but otherwise, I found the rhythmic repetition coming from the stage to be really soothing. It's such a curious experience, especially if you're not used to it: every sound is, arguably, instantly forgettable, but while it's happening your body knows exactly how to move to it, and the patterns and repetition start to feel very friendly.
I was also impressed by the aesthetics of the visual displays: There was a good variety of imagery and moods represented. A moment with shadows of hands in fog was super goth and cool, while the intricate space visuals were intricate enough to keep even a sober person entertained.