If the preview for this colossal structure wasn't enough to get your eyes thirsting for the real thing, then get off your ass and go see the Shpongletron for yourself. With much help from Random Rab, the Shpongletron Experience gave attendees at the Boulder Theater something to brag about until someone attempts (key word here: "attempts") to one-up this beautiful convergence of music and visuals.
Random Rab was set to open around 9:15 p.m. -- conveniently, right around the time the Boulder Theater began to reek like burning sage and a cornucopia of other odors. Chances are if it was smokable, it was burning. Rab stood behind a mirrored table, holding a clear electric guitar andproviding simple plucks underneath his distorted vocals. A fragmented board displayed projected images of birds, bees and plants behind him to provide some guidance into the musical journey he was about to embark upon. It was as if an entire monastery was chanting ritualistically in a great hall, but instead it was just Rab humming lyrics and layering his voice. It was a slow start, but by the end of his set, there was hardly a face in the crowd not gleaming with utter joy.
Hallucinogen was the second opener, which confused a handful of people and forced many to question, "Is that Simon Posford?" It was. Posford has a side project of personal sounds he produces under the moniker Hallucinogen, which, at the Boulder Theater last night, sounded like a fresh upgrade of '90s hardcore dance music and psychedelic world sounds. It almost had that industrial sound, going heavy on the drums and subtle grinding on the bass.
The set was simple -- not musically simple, but it looked like a simple "press play" set -- with just him swirling his finger in the air and bouncing along with the front row. Posford's confidence must be of heroic proportions, because he was the opening act for Sphongletron (or the opening act for himself). This means he got to play his personal music prior to playing Shpongle's music on a mixer. Sounds like a good day's work.
The real anticipation was for the Shpongletron. The towering, sixteen-foot mass of scaffolding, cloth and lasers served as a backdrop until Posford appeared at the top and opened up the set. Instantaneously, the white flags on the sides transformed into an underwater scene and began floating a small, Shpongle-masked fish that toyed with Posford as he began his set.
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Instead of explaining the images in detail, below we've provided a small lot of photos for your enjoyment, so you can see for yourself just what Zebbler and Shpongle created. Remember, all of these images are unedited, and none of the structure is digitized. The entire visual experience is 3D-mapped onto the Shpongletron.
(Critic's Notebook follows the photos)
Click through for more photos
Critic's Notebook Personal Bias: Shpongle is great, but my real excitement was in the visuals. Overheard: "It'll probably stink like mothballs inside all night." Random Detail: The dancers who flanked Posford were not in sync and kind of messed with the visual symmetry of the whole stage.