Live: Ghostland Observatory at Culture Room, April 27

Categories: Concert Review
Photo by Betsey Denberg
Ghostland Observatory
With DJ Esoteric
Culture Room, Fort Lauderdale
Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Better than: Seeing Daft Punk in concert.

Witnessing Ghostland Observatory live is comparable to trying heroin for the first time. You feel each beat vibrate through your body. You become mesmerized by frontman Aaron Kyle Behrens' moves. And when the show is over, the Austin, Texas-based band leaves you craving more. 

Although the band's latest album Codename: Rondo hasn't been getting the greatest reviews, it didn't affect the turnout at last night's Culture Room show (and neither did the $25 ticket price). However, it's not surprising that it didn't play many tracks off said album. 

The lights went down, the smoke machine kicked on, and drummer/beatmaster Thomas Ross Turner crept on stage in his signature Texas flag vampire cloak. A sunglasses-wearing Aaron Kyle Behrens sauntered on stage emanating sexual energy into the female audience. Opening with newer track "Glitter," the 45-second intro pumped into the veins of the crowd, preparing everyone for the high-octane set. 

Ghostland pulled out all the hits, occasionally performing a few tracks off Codename: Rondo. The first half of the set was composed mostly of the duo's earlier material, songs from 2006's Paparazzi Lightning, later moving into hits off Robotique Majestique and during the encore. Tracks like "Piano Man," "Sad Sad City," and "Dancing on My Grave" had the audience singing along and eventually dancing in a mosh-pit-like motion. 

Apart from a few drum-playing moments, Turner spent most of the evening perched like a gargoyle over his electronic setup, pushing buttons and occasionally speaking in a robot voice. As for Behrens' stage presence, imagine if you took Freddie Mercury, Prince, and Elvis and put them in a blender. Throughout the night, his gyrating hips evoked screams and cries from the women in the audience. At one point, a woman got so excited that she hopped up on the balcony and almost fell over the railing. 

Music aside, the band is known for its arena-style laser-light setup, and despite Culture Room's intimate size, it still pulled out all the ammo. It's probably the only time I didn't pass judgment on those wearing sunglasses indoors. 

After an 80-minute set that included two encores, the stage went black, the music ended, and the only thing left to hear was the crowd chanting "Ghostland! Ghostland!" Whether it was the laser beams' hypnotic effect or all the alcohol moving through their bodies, its safe to say the audience left the night hooked on the drug known as "GLO."

Photo by Betsey Denberg

Critic's Notebook

The crowd: College bros, sorority surf girls, and lots of hippies who all love to fist-pump like it was a night out at the Jersey Shore. 

Random detail: A girl almost fell over the balcony upstairs at the venue.

Another random detail: Some guy got kicked out for smoking weed before the show started.   

Overheard: "OMG. He's so fucking hot. I told you he was fuckable. I can barely breathe, he's so hot" (in reference to frontman Aaron Kyle Behrens).

Personal bias: I lost some brain cells. I'm not sure if it was the contact high or the lasers burning my skull. 

Set List

Piano Man
Move With Your Lover
Stranger Lover 
Codename Rondo
Midnight Voyage 
No Place for Me 
Heavy Heart 

Give Me the Beat
Sad Sad City 
Silver City
Rich Man 
Dancing on My Grave

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Location Info


Culture Room

3045 N. Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale, FL

Category: Music

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Fat Hand
Fat Hand

Good review, good show, although I am not sure I agree that this was better than a Daft Punk concert, on account of Ghostland's music being nowhere near as good as Daft Punk. But damn that's a lot of lasers they use. Only real disappointment was that they didn't end the show with The Band Marches On featuring the entire University of Miami marching band.

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