Hesitant, yet feeling the urge to take a gamble, was my internal struggle when debating whether or not to shoot down i-95 to catch Australian live electronic trio Art vs Science at the Electric Pickle in Miami. A handful of failed attempts at a nap stacked the odds against, but a hype I had built for the band, in my own mind the weeks previous, forced my hand. I was in the brick building just after midnight, checking out out the excessive amount of pedals, effects gadgets and keyboard toys the guys had on stage. The dance floor was filling in with Miami's bold decision makers that risked a rough Friday on a late night Thursday show they thought would pay out. I ran into the Aussies downstairs playing foozeball. They lacked any inclination of jet lag or time difference adjustment symptoms. Lively, happy and loose were what they seemed to be - the music proved to stand parallel to these characteristics.
A fast paced set kicked off strong with heavy synth interplay, building vocoders and technical drum work on Higher and was followed by the moving Friend In The Field that echoes the engagingly enigmatic chorus "we lost a friend in the field tonight, still I wave a beam of light." Despite the serious connotation the lyrics could take on a face value interpretation, the goofy and playful antics that define the band lead me to believe it might be more a result of a night of debauchery. I came to find that was the beauty of this band. Either way the tune was well executed and the band was performing at about an 11 volume threshold. I moved towards the back of the room for the next sequence of hard hitters from their album The Experiment. Among my personal favorites being A.I.M. Fire!, and this track did not disappoint in the live setting.
Magic Fountain emerged from a deep psychedelic intro and the confined dance floor exploded with a new found energy. The bar was set and it became apparent that something special was going on here. This was the first US show ever for the band, but they were pushing the tunes into experimental places, bantering in between tracks, pumping up the crowd and appeared to be as comfortable playing a small upstairs room in Miami, Florida as the large theatres and festivals in Australia. Hollywood and Take A Look At Your Face kept feet moving and heads bobbing. As if we had a choice? The high energy peaks of Sledgehammer, announced as a song about psychedelics, and danceability of Flippers were other set highlights. All too soon for my liking the show closed out with an extended version of Parlez-Vous Francais. What else can be said, when you play on an audience members shoulders, chug a bottle of beer while shredding and then jump on the bar mid-solo, you have my attention. I think that Oz has produced a unique and solid product in Art vs Science, and I am buying in. I predict others will too.
Videos are in order of performance.