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Zero-7 Phone Home: Last Night at the Orpheum Theater

Zero 7 is a UK bred downtempo touring band comprised of founding members Henry Binns and Sam Hardaker. Contributing artists come and go, however last night at L.A.'s Orpheum theater, their 7 piece band included soul blues singer Abimaro and multi-talented folk singer, Olivia Chaney.

Abimaro performs with Zero 7 at the Orpheum Theater
Abimaro performs with Zero 7 at the Orpheum Theater

The full band played the sold-out multi-leveled Orpheum Theater, performing a two hour set complete with a four-song acid jazz encore sure to make the seated crowd cross eyes, if not lose sensitivity in their backsides, during the louder-than-loud what-should-have-been techno trip-hop dance party earlier in the night.

Zero 7 at the Orpheum Theater
Zero 7 at the Orpheum Theater

Never before have I seen a seated techno dance hall not dancing, but better they start sitting than pass out shoegazing or free-form seizing to the bursts of downtempo remixes. While harmoniums are not particularly catchy (about as much as a theremin or Eigenharp) last night Chaney's instrument was completely dizzying, a sound that didn't seem to be of this earth.

Olivia Chaney and her harmonium
Olivia Chaney and her harmonium

Speaking of which, last night Zero 7 completely got pulled over by a UFO. The five male musicians -- all clothed in white -- began glowing hot pink, radioactive green and fiber-optic blue, raking in the industrial neon spotlights from above. They simulated what appeared to be a close-encounter 2010, and the piercing supernatural siren sounds pretty much sealed the deal: Those dudes are aliens.

Are we watching Othello... Come on people! Where's Lady Gaga.
Are we watching Othello... Come on people! Where's Lady Gaga.

Then, suddenly, a lone mustached dancer popped up from the crowd rising - to bust out some hexed YMCA-like dance moves. Once the spazzing man with the short butt shorts in winter broke the ice, about ten more mind-warped antsy seaters joined in.

Henry Binns onstage with Zero 7
Henry Binns onstage with Zero 7

The whole thing was quite video-gamey. We weren't sure how you even make some of those sounds, but a lot of the instruments probably don't really even exist. Go to a Zero 7 show, and your ears will definitely hear some brand new racket they've never heard before. Sound refreshing? Don't fall asleep slouching in your chair.

Zero 7 at the Orpheum Theater
Zero 7 at the Orpheum Theater
Anna Webber

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