By Matt Bennett
If there was a Grammy category for best band name, Ghostland Observatory would take home the award every year, and rightfully so. The duo’s pulsating beats, signature synths, vibrant wardrobes and mind-altering lasers have melted faces at Austin City Limits, Bonnaroo, Coachella, Lollapalooza and other sold out venues all across the country and world. If you thought you didn’t have plans Friday, Dec. 4, you do now – Ghostland Observatory live at the Varsity Theatre.
Describing this band in words seems impossible. Think of everything you hear in an arcade, mix in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and master it all with Daft Punk. Random, trippy and certainly catchy, Ghostland Observatory revives a genre, full of gimmicky DJ “live” shows, with an actual heartbeat (emphasis on beat). Their production-laced performances feature drums, keys, guitars and vocals, not a hype man hitting the spacebar on his laptop.
Formed in Austin, Texas over a decade ago, this eclectic duo explores their different influences and utilizes them advantageously. Songs like “All You Rock & Rollers” and “Midnight Voyage” perfectly pair front man/guitarist Aaron Behren’s love for rock and the blues with drummer/keyboardist Thomas Turner’s admiration for stripped-down, hook-laden electronic music.
In 2005, Ghostland Observatory put out their debut full-length album, delete.delete.i.eat.meat on band member Turner’s record label Trashy Moped Recordings. Shortly after, they also released their sophomore CD Paparazzi Lightning in 2006. Off it, the song “Sad Sad City,” which they performed on NBC’s Late Night with Conan O’Brien, further solidified them as a must see act.
The group even played what eventually became the final year for the short-lived Vegoose music and arts festival. The lineup featured Daft Punk, Rage Against The Machine, Muse, Ghostland Observatory and many more performing in Las Vegas, days before Halloween. Talk about a treat for music lovers.
Like Sin City, The Big Easy also welcomed Ghostland Observatory with open arms at Voodoo Fest in 2007 and again in 2008.
Recently, the two-piece band released their four track Life of the Party EP and on it sound as fresh as ever. The title song takes listeners on a five-minute emotional escapade – happy at times, dark at others, but always 100 percent dance friendly. The EP’s finisher, “How Does It Drive” offers fans a healthy dosage of sexy lyrics, big beats and arena-sized guitar riffs. If you haven’t already, do yourself a favor and check it out.
Even Olympic snowboarder Kaitlyn Farrington said at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics she always blasted Ghostland Observatory’s “Give Me The Beat” at her half-pipe runs – an event she took home the gold medal in.
Loved amongst college students, no place in the Capital City better suits Ghostland Observatory quite like the North Gates at LSU. When the lights go down, and this eclectic duo takes over the Varsity Theatre’s stage, their bold sound and vibrant show might just leave you with goose bumps. As if you saw a ghost or something. Don’t miss it.
Tickets cost $45 in advance. Doors open at 8 p.m. and the show starts at 9 p.m.