The first time I saw Ghostland Observatory I was sitting in a field at the Austin City Limits Music Festival last fall. Even from several hundred feet away the music and atmosphere the band created were so infectious I had to stand up and dance in the 100 degree heat. Needless to say, I was excited to see what they could do in a more intimate venue at the Emo's outdoor stage on Wednesday night, and I was definitely not disappointed.
Ghostland Observatory is Thomas Turner (electronics/drums/cape-wearing) and Aaron Behrens (vocals/guitar/gyrating). Last night they played songs off both their 2005 debut album delete.delete.I.eat.meat and the 2006 Paparazzi Lightning, as well as some new material.
The energy of this sold-out "secret" show, part of Emo's anniversary celebrations, was almost indescribable. Aaron Behrens has the most intoxicating stage presence I have ever seen in a front-man. On many tracks he puts down his guitar to cavort, strut, and shake across the stage, sometimes making karate-chop moves to the beat, sometimes moving more like a stripper, his two braided pig-tails bouncing along with him. The eclectic Emo's audience ate it up, and I have never seen so many people in one club drop their inhibitions and dance -- we were a sweaty, gyrating mass by the end of the night.
Ghostland started the show with "Piano Man," but at this point it was so packed in Emo's that it was hard to even bob my head without hitting another person. By the time they broke out "Sad Sad City," however, the crowd had spread out a little and enthusiastically broke out in a sing-and-dance-along. There was a little space on either side of the stage and girls kept jumping up to dance with each other, only to hilariously be picked up and put back in the crowd by bored-looking club staff. (Private note to girls: Aaron's moves are far superior). After playing for over an hour, they started the encore with "Rich Man." Everyone kept dancing even through the slower "Silver City" before Ghostland ended the night with a new track.
Looks like more of you will get a chance to see Ghostland Observatory this summer. After taping a show for Austin City Limits in July, the band plays Lollapalooza in August and the McCarren Park Pool in Brooklyn later that month. I suggest you stretch before heading to the show -- I woke up this morning with a leg cramp.