Archive | June, 2011

Kiev’s 3D Debut

3 Jun

                                                                                                                         Photo: Carlos A. Mor

It’s a rare feat in the music business that an opening band draws a larger crowd than the better-known headliner, but Orange County’s own Kiev did just this last Tuesday at the Samueli Theater in Costa Mesa with the debut of their custom designed stereoscopic 3D projections that beautifully merged the worlds of music and art.

Animations, graphics, and video clips were projected above the band, bringing Kiev’s music to a whole other dimension. Layered visuals of alternating colors, shapes, and designs created the 3D effect and changed depending upon the mood and timing of the songs.

The audience, a sea of zombie-like onlookers clad in 3D glasses, bobbed their heads and lightly swayed while staring at the space above the band, which, at times, turned into what looked like the end of a brilliantly colored kaleidoscope.

Fans seldom broke their mesmerized gaze and halfway through the show, lead singer Robert “Bob” Brinkerhoff took note of this, joking, “Alright, you can look at us now. Actually this next song is really pretty.”

The May 24th show was marketed as Kiev’s “first and possibly last 3D performance” but judging by the seamless coordination of entrancing visuals synced with their jazzed up old-school-meets-new-school tunes, Kiev’s experimentation with the possibilities of art and music have only just begun.

“It’s something that’s been a long time coming. It was just the right timing and the right venue. We could take it up to a new level that we wouldn’t be able to at another bar in Orange County,” said keyboardist Alex Wright.

Before its debut, the band members only watched the projections in their entirety during two rehearsals. “But still, we really didn’t get to watch it because we were playing. You’d lose your mind,” said sax player Andy Stavas, with a laugh.

To create the 3D footage, Kiev collaborated with Bob’s father’s company, Martin Brinkerhoff Associates, as well as friends and family members who presented their own pieces. “The people that were involved beside the band, this is what they do. It’s an everyday thing. And we’re so grateful to be able to come together with everybody and make it one thing,” said Wright.

“Each song was done by a different person with their own style and it could have come across as disjointed but I think at least the 3D layer aspect came together,” said Wright. “We all tried to give in our two cents and there was coordination to it but we really let everyone just go wild.”

That night, Kiev let the visuals and the music do the talking. As images of people walking, pyramids floating, or splattered paint that spelled out the lyrics danced above the stage, you knew you were witnessing something groundbreaking.

After the show, as they took their instruments backstage, it became obvious that Kiev was a hard act to follow. The 3D experience not only captivated the audience by engaging the senses, but it gave them a taste of the future of music.

By the time Portland’s Menomena began their set, the packed crowd dwindled to an intimate gathering and the lead singer joked about the obvious reduction saying, “for those of you who stayed this long…” and ending the set with “we really appreciate you sticking around.”

You can chock it up to home advantage, the promise of stunning visuals, or their recent OC Music Awards title of Best Indie Band of 2011, but after seeing Kiev perform for the first time, I would venture to say it’s their undeniable talent and ability to put on a good live show that filled the theater.

(Originally published in OC Muisc Magazine)

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