Itchy-O

Denver-based band Itchy-O have announced their presence at this year’s Dark MOFO Fest in Hobart, Tasmania, starting June 10th through June 21st, 2016. 


By Amber L. Novotny 

 

Denver-based band Itchy-O have announced their presence at this year’s Dark MOFO Fest in Hobart, Tasmania, starting June 10th through June 21st, 2016. Ritualistic in nature, Itchy-O’s performances are entrancing, and tend to involve the entire venue-space. They stand amongst the crowd and play, enticing everyone to dance, and become part of the ceremony. There are over thirty people in this band! Mainly a drum corps battery, Itchy-O employs snare drums, timbales, quint and quad tenors, roto-toms, bass drums, gongs, crash cymbals, synthesizers, samples, electric bass and guitar, Theremins and even Chinese Lion Dancers. The vocals are transformed with devices called vocoders. They’ve been described as a “satanic marching band”, although Itchy-O didn’t necessarily dub themselves this. As one watches the performance, however, the moniker may not be far from the truth. Each musical member dons a black mask, and a uniform, perhaps even a sombrero or a gas-mask, creating a creepy anonymity, and a hive-like unity. The energy and sound is intense and tribal-like. 

Seemingly much more than “a band”, Itchy-O is a musical entity that ebbs and flows across the lands, unexpectedly performing at venues along their way, much to the audience’s delight. The 30-plus battalion of people form more of an art piece than a musical group. Dancers and provocateurs roam around the audience to motivate movement. Lights, fog, sensuality and fury color the atmosphere; the performance is an industrial experience for more of the senses than just sight and sound. 

Itchy-O has an impressive list of accomplishments. Each year since 2011, their New Year’s Eve performances have sold out at Denver’s well-known and beloved 3 Kings Tavern. They’ve shared a stage with David Byrne (Talking Heads), Iggy Pop, The Melvin’s, Warlock Pinchers, Devo, Beats Antique, Bad Religion and Public Enemy. They’ve played many festivals across America, including Riot Fest and the Stanley Film Festival. The Westword voted Itchy-O as the best avant-garde act in 2014, and best experimental act in 2015. Their first full- length LP was released under Jello Biafra’s record label, Alternative Tentacles, proving they have definitely made their mark. And now they travel across the world to hand out their madness like candy in a parade. 

If you’re lucky enough to be traveling to Tasmania this June, the Dark MOFO runs across Hobart, Mona, the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, Dark Park, Winter Feast, City Hall and more. It is Australia’s annual pilgrimage celebrating the dark with public art, food, film, music, light and noise. 

Itchy-O is certainly a good fit for this festival. Their “primal-futuristic” sound formed in 2009 with their first EP being released on 2011, called Inferno! Their sophomore album, Burn the Navigator was released in 2014. This year, at Dark MOFO, Itchy-O will be performing new music from their upcoming album slated for release later in 2016. They will officially be blowing everyone’s minds on June 17th. Luckily for many of us, however, they are from Denver! Meaning they’ll be back, and all of us will soon get to partake in what could easily be one of the most intriguing experiences ever. 

About

A throbbing 32-piece band of masked chaos invites you to dissolve the performer/audience divide and melt into the bedlam, that is the disorienting power of itchy-O. itchy-O is a Denver-based percussion-centered electronic performance band. itchy-O brings a sophisticatedly savage sound and the sheer ecstasy of instruments untethered and running free. With a driving drum corps battery, Taiko drummers, an arsenal of electronics including synthesizers, theremin, vocoders, and many other special devices, the IOMB completely engulfs and immerses an audience from every angle in a pounding electric bog of music, ephemera and spectacle. The masked and hive-minded IOMB is waging war on predictable mediocrity with their blind-siding-style performances which feature an artfully hazardous Chinese lion, a troupe of sensuous dancing provocateurs, fog, strobes, sequins, sweat and fury. 

Itchy-O released its first full length LP on Jello Biafra’s famed record label Alternative Tentacles in 2014. They have played with David Byrne & St. Vincent’s band as well as performing at Riot Fest with Iggy Pop, Bad Religion, and Public Enemy. They have headlined the Denver Center for Performing Art’s Hallowmass, played at Austin’s prestigious film festival, Fantastic Fest, and the Stanley Film Fest. They have opened for Devo, Beats Antique, The Melvins, and San Francisco’s Extra Action Marching Band. Itchy-O has been featured on Colorado Public Radio, OpenAir, KGNU’s After FM, performed for the Biennial of the Americas, Tucson’s All Souls Festival, ScoutMob’s Halloween Bash in Atlanta, Austin’s Art Outside, Adobe’s Effective UI, and toured the US four years in a row.
 

THE PLAYERS 

Bryan Aquino ~ Snare 
Adam Loudermilk ~ Timbales 
Jesse Dickens ~ Quint Tenors 
Joe Hatfield ~ Quad Tenors 
Scott Banning ~ Roto-Toms 
Nick Lloyd ~ Bass Drum 
Stephen Daniel Karpik ~ Bass Drum 
Carlo Campagna ~ Cymbals 
Sara Miller ~ Cymbals 
Alicia Cardenas ~ Cymbals 
Robert Drew Burleson ~ Cymbals 

Kirsten Vermulen ~ Synthesizer/Vocoder 
David Britton ~ Synthesizer/Vocoder 
Devon Francy ~ Electric Bass 
Roger Liu ~ Electric Guitar 
John Gross ~ Vocoder 
Joe Mehner ~ Samples 
Aaron Spriggs ~ Theremin 
Pamela Webb ~ Taiko 
Sarah Anderson ~ Taiko 
Andre Cover ~ Taiko 

Joanne M.W. Liu ~ Chinese Lion Dancer 
Megs Burd ~ Chinese Lion Dancer 
Jen GaNun ~ Chinese Lion Dancer 
Steven Call ~ Polyphonic I 
Landon Ricker ~ Polyphonic II 
Andrew Linares ~ Polyphonic Unit III 
Brian Dudley ~ Polyphonic Unit III 

Sara Valentine ~ Creep Unit 
Jenny Smalling ~ Creep Unit 
Rachel Qualliotine ~ Creep Unit 
Jiah Shin ~ Creep Unit 
Evelyn Fugate ~ Creep Unit 
Mariah Becerra ~ Special Effects 
Justin Hicks ~ MSP (Most Special Player) 
Brad Smalling ~ Live Audio Engineer

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