It would be foolhardy to label NVO simply as ‘jamtronica’ — certainly shades of STS9 and Big Gigantic come to mind as the group is instrumental in nature, building beats to euphoric plateaus. But included in the sonic equation are obscure sci-fi movie samples, remixes like Talking Heads’ “Once in a Lifetime”, turntable scratching and a fresh auditory dance aesthetic reminiscent of Paper Diamond or Burial.
NVO has hit the bricks hard the past year, playing shows at Elbo Room, Silent Frisco sets and two performances a day at Burning Man, but this one at the Independent was a huge step forward. True to the ethos of Burning Man, the patrons that helped fill SF’s premier emerging artist venue seemed to all know each other and the band. The Saturday night ‘party with your pants off’ mentality was hyper-present with the aid of an incredible light show and a bouncy, high energy performance.
NVO’s biggest strength is they overtly have fun while performing, thereby encouraging the crowd to join along. DJ/producer Justin Ward (aka DUDHAUS) and sampler/scratcher Chuck Jones project unbridled enthusiasm while drummer Greg Maximov thrashes away like Animal from The Muppets and Mike Laglia focuses on effect-laden guitar work.
The lighting provided by Creative Precision was big, bold and oh so very pleasing for the eyes. Carter Adams controls the lights, timing them to the music exquisitely à la Phish’s CK5. The spotlight driven visuals not only enhance NVO’s live performance, but it immediately elevates them to the next level — they are ready for the festival circuit and proper touring in 2014.
The Bay Area’s Materialized performed prior to NVO, and Sterling Munksgard was on hand to capture all the snaps.