Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs at Webster Hall 12/13 Reviewed
The 26 year-old Oxford based producer, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, is a rare sighting stateside. Son of Professor Edward Higginbottom, conductor of the choir at the University of Oxford, Orlando Higginbottom is not your typical Electronic artist. Performing at Webster Hall, a venue normally populated by booming EDM and Dubstep stars, TEED was a very refreshing alternative. Aligning with a genre that can best be described as “pop-infused-house” TEED produces all of his own sounds and sings over nearly every one of his tracks. While an artist like Calvin Harris also produces and sings over his own tracks, the two are vastly different. While Calvin produces club hits, TEED makes a unique brand of indie-electronic that is hard to imagine becoming popularized at this day and age. Higginbottom also remains as one of the only electronic producers that actually sings live over all of his tracks, not only adding a level of beauty to his live show, but also making for a very satisfactory sing-along experience for those familiar with his music. TEED is also well known for his extravagant costuming, often donning full body stegosaurus outfits, full feathered jackets, headdresses and wings.
Tonight, Orlando decided to go with a large black jacket covered in thin black feathers. Playing almost entirely tracks from his debut LP Trouble, TEED opened up with “Stronger” getting everyone in the groovy/dancy mood that he would keep us in for the remainder of the show. This track, like so many of his from the LP, is laden with poppy synths that you would no doubt find at any 80s dance club. A very nice departure from the normally packed and sweaty Webster, there was plenty of room to maneuver and get down in a fashion that nearly all of his songs call for. Accompanying him for his performance was his typical triangular neon lights setup and a pair of dancers - complete with costume changes.
Higginbottoms’ Trouble is quite an upbeat outing musically, however, lyrically is much darker. Orlando sings a lot about women, how they pay him no mind and his struggles with love. A prime example of this is on his track “Garden” that he played in sync with the next costume change. A song about trying to get back with someone, you can see the pained expressions on his face as he delivers the lyrics beautifully to his audience. Not only does he sing live, but his voice sounds hardly discernable from the studio recordings - something rarely found at any live act of any genre. As the relatively short performance went on (lasting a little over an hour) he broke up his act with the only non-lyrical track from his album “American Dream Pt. II.” The song opens with a nice building melody that quickly drops into a choppy synth-heavy breakdown, sending the crowd into a jolt of movements. As the show winds down, TEED comes on the mic, informing us that he is supposed to step off stage for 2 minutes and then re-emerge (for his encore). He tells us that he will not be doing that, and that the show will go on, sending the crowd into cheers. Like his a-typical style and music, comes a very fitting end to his performance. Embracing his awkward, nerdy self, Higginbottom does not wish to be like any of his contemporaries. Closing out his set with one of the more emotional songs on the album, “Household Goods”,TEED calls for attention from a girl who is preoccupied with another man. The song is also host to one of heaviest drops on the album, making for a perfect high energy close-out.
Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs is not your typical Electronic music act, but this is a very good thing. He is a fresh departure from what has saturated the electronic scene as of late. I would highly recommend seeing him if you are lucky enough to have him playing in your town or city.