Live Review: acorn project (CD Release), Galapagos

oct. 31, 2013 • wild buffalo

The culmination of months of preparation and artistic vision was on display this past Halloween at the Wild Buffalo. As a long time staple in the Bellingham music scene, many of us have grown accustomed to Acorn Project providing the community with stellar live performances and epic themed productions. What we often forget is that this band is no longer just local heroes – over the past nine years Acorn have grown into a formidable and recognizable touring act all around the western United States. Selling hundreds of tickets nightly in many major West Coast markets including Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Denver, and San Diego, the support for this band is currently at its highest and still growing. The fact they are continuing to call Bellingham home is special for our local music scene.
Coming directly off two months on the road, while finding themselves challenged every step of the way (see last month’s Tales from the Road installment), Acorn Project brought us their absolute best on a special night to be remembered. They seem to always attempt to trump their last stage production, and on Halloween they presented the sold out crowd of 500-plus in attendance with Sensebellums’ Rubix, a massive 3D projection mapping installation set in coordination with their own light show that made the Buffalo feel less like a local bar venue and more like a theatrical stage hosting a concert. The energy was extremely high, as Acorn’s Halloween events have grown to be legendary and anticipated in this town. This year was no different showcasing their newest album release material for the first time to the hometown crowd, as well as a Daft Punk themed set of covers intermixed with the originals.
The songs off the album SHIFT were very well represented. The introduction to sampling through Ableton Live off a newly integrated laptop was flawless and added a tasty live electronic appeal to their already electro-funk driven dance show. Songs like “Eyes Open” and “The Difference” threw hooks that stick with the listener with a pop savvy live delivery.  Acorn did what they do best, melding together an eclectic mix of styles in their originals, melting faces with jammy improvised moments, and hand picking a set of covers (Daft Punk) while making them their own. Throwing “Give Life Back to Music, Bigger – Faster – Stronger, Lose Yourself to Dance, Robot Rock, and of course Get Lucky” into the funk blender, Acorn melded in and out of their own material and the covers with flawless transitions from song to song. The climactic moment came around half way throughout the night when the guys transitioned from a brand new song called “Lucidity,” an electronic hybrid, into an old classic called “FPOP (Funny Pair of Pants).” The improvised electro-funk jam that ensued floored the entire venue. Deep in the pocket, the groove captured the crowd, and Acorn took us for a hell of a ride. It was hard to believe the soundscape was being created from stage, and as the rock ‘n; roll shredded in its climactic conclusion, the crowd erupted with a deafening roar.
Acorn Project were on fire this night and the new album is incredible. The crowd (and their costumes) are always the most fun in town. Acorn have built a family and a scene that reaches far beyond Bellingham’s borders, but this is their home. They should be proud of their accomplishments.
–Dan Zedonek