Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs
Electric Pickle, Miami
Saturday, May 5, 2012
Better Than: The dinosaur DJs of Ultra Music Festival.
It's always exciting at the beginnings of things. One of the greatest joys of being a music snob is finding a new artist -- like London's Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs -- to fall in love with just as his sound is gaining some serious hype.
The best up-and-comers are those who bring a sincerely fresh and original musical perspective while also managing to evoke nostalgia and a sense of familiarity.
And TEED (AKA one-man dance-pop machine Orlando Higginbottom) is exactly that kind of jewel. Bigger overseas, this weekend's performance was only his second in Miami. But judging by the devotion of his fans, he'll be taking over America very soon.
As the Pickle slowly filled and strangers made acquaintances, it seemed the hot topic of conversation was "when is he going to come on?" People were positively stoked for this DIY dino-costumed man to take control.
When the back porch opened up, people shuffled out and seized prime standing space in front of the array of keys, computers, and beat machines on stage. Finally, at 1:06 a.m., he emerged wearing a Navajo-patterned, blue footy-pajama costume, complete with epic feather lapels.
The crowd cheered as the eery opening chords of "Closer" filled the air. Blue and green light set the mood and bounced off of the magnetic tape hanging all around him like wispy stalactites.
"Tonight will be one hell of a party," he sang, mixing into his reworking of Fur Coat's "Space Ballad." We say mixed. But it's important to note that Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs is not really a DJ. He live produces his tracks, using lots of Rolands, Korgs, loop effects, and Ableton. Nevertheless, he maintains a steady musical journey by seamlessly piecing tracks together.
He started to play his hit "Trouble," but cut himself short just before the drop, shouting, "Have we got sound out there? Can you hear?" And the audience's yelled response signified, "Yes, we hear you loud and clear, TEED!" So he went back into the song from the first chords. And this time, the drop came with a sweet confetti canon explosion.
From there, Higginbottom worked through his catalogue, playing lots of tracks from his upcoming debut album, due to be released in June.
"Hey, Miami," he called, "you're listening to Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs," as if they needed a reminder. Each new song elicited cheers of recognition. The audience seemed to know all the words to songs like "Stronger" and "Household Goods," which is pretty impressive for an artist without an album.
His sound progressed a lot in that hour, starting chill and then moving into trip-hop-inspired beats, followed by some hard electro grooves and finally finishing with heavier drum 'n' bass-style rhythms. Even extinct dinos know Miami loves booty bass.
"This is my last one," he said before an abrupt cut off, which (even with the announcement) left some fans looking around like, "Is it over?"
"Thanks for coming," he said. "I'll be back."
You better, Higginbottom. You effing better.
Personal Bias: I just have a feeling this guy is going to blow up once his album drops. Too many people were singing along for this not to become a phenomenon.
The Crowd: Late 20s and early 30s who wanted to get drunk and go dancing without having to change out of their day-time clothes.
-"Space Ballad" remix
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-"Tapes & Money"