ABOVE & BEYOND
By Geovanny Rodriguez
After selling out the Hollywood Palladium in 2010, Jono, Paavo, & Tony of Above & Beyond return to LA to bring their second artist album Group Therapy to the historic Shrine Auditorium. The concert combined emotive visuals, live messaging from the band, stylized lighting, and a story-telling narrative that created a unique dance floor experience and raised the DJ setup to the realm of concert theater. Press Pass LA was there to experience the party!
Walking into the Above & Beyond concert at the Shrine Auditorium was not unlike walking into any venue I have been to before. The usual butterflies filled my stomach- excitement about the great night to come. However, the performance that followed was anything but ordinary. The venue was a great open space both for dancing and relaxing with outside areas set up to get food & drinks and plenty of A & B and Insomniac swag! There was no shortage of venue staff, security, and even police presence to ensure a fun and safe night. The early DJ got the crowd going but it was obvious that fans where waiting for the main event. As soon as A & B took the stage, fans came running inside to get their spot on the dance floor which featurd two levels (the top floor being 21+). Each song from the Group Therapy album had a great feel to it, reminding me of Ibiza and the music that has been played there.
But A & B has been a well respected EDM group long before this show. They have topped the charts in the UK and are known worldwide. These globetrotting Anjunabeats bosses established themselves as one of the U.K.'s most popular DJ/producers by selling out shows on both sides of the Atlantic (including the solo shows at L.A.’s Hollywood Palladium and Brixton Academy). So for me, Above & Beyond's performance at the Shrine Auditorium was a great preview of things still to come for a band who has not yet reached its peak in popularity- especially here in the U. S.
The first single from this album, the synth-driven stadium dance of ‘Sun & Moon’ is currently hooking major props from dance music mogul Pete Tong and getting playlisted on BBC Radio 1(topping both the iTunes Dance and Beatport Trance charts along the way).
Over their eleven year history, the band's hard work has paid off with successes including performing for more than 1 million people at Barra Beach in Rio (back in 2007) and having their track 'Buzz" selected to soundtrack the launch of Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic Spaceship Two in the Mojave Desert. The band's unstoppable momentum these past two years alone can not be denied and was highlighted when they made their debut at the legendary Glastonbury festival.
Group Therapy is a complete listening experience, combining elements of house, trance 2.0, electronica and even modern classical. This album includes the bittersweet orchestral beauty of piano opener ‘Filmic’, the dark tale of edgy electronic-house anthem ‘Black Room Boy’ and the ambient Electronica of ‘Sun In Your Eyes’ – a track which recalls Ambient’s early-90s glory days of Global Communication, Pete Namlook et al.
Tales of loves lost, found, and confused are at Group Therapy’s heart. Highlights like ‘Alchemy’, ‘You Got To Go’ (both sung by former Faithless/Bent vocalist Zöe Johnston) and future single ‘Thing Called Love’ (feat. Richard Bedford) are the antithesis of throwaway club music – adding depth, meaning, and classic song writing values to an album destined to go down as one of electronic music’s classic moments.
Above & Beyond is definitely a performance worth seeing, either as a solo show or at a show like EDC or Beyond Wonderland. I know I didn't sit down once because I didn't want to miss even a piece of their show and it was clear the crowd around me shared my sentiment.
To see their next scheduled performance please visit Above & Beyond.