Though stuffed from the boatloads of food served over the Thanksgiving break, many were clearly still left hungry in the music/live music department, and those souls were willing to brave the LA cold to head downtown to The Regent Theater, aka The Church of Oneohtrix Point Never, Saturday night.

Members of the cult gathered in what looked like a sanctuary of blue-hued lights and two television screens with graphic imagery that strobed as frequently as the lights surrounding the stage. Perched on that stage above the crowd, Daniel Lopatin delivered his sermon with distortion rendering the words almost beyond recognition, and a second member hoisted a headless guitar to give rise to the searing synths and noises that those in attendance worshipped as part of their faith.

Not to get too preachy, but seeing Oneohtrix Point Never live is just one of those things that you have to experience to believe. I did so last year, and while the set was certainly one of the more peculiar pieces of performance art I’ve seen, I left it feeling as though I’d survived the rapture. The event featured Lopatin with some electronic equipment and just a screen as his accompanying visuals, but they command such power that I felt uplifted and weirdly connected to everyone in the room as we all wrestled with our own reactions to his interpretive plunderphonics.


In support of a new album that is also his finest hour yet, Garden of Delete, Lopatin’s show at The Regent was equally superb in that it was a change of pace from what I had come to expect from him. His energy was a lot more alive and colorful, frequently on the mic as much as his video modulator. He performed just about every track from the new album, plus a one-track encore that included “Music For Steamed Rocks” from his Commissions series, which he had also performed at the show I attended previously.

Having heard the album multiple times, it was entertaining to learn just what was and wasn’t a sample, and his screeching, demonic vocals on tracks like “Sticky Drama,” “Lift,” and “Animals” were certainly awesome to see performed live. Lopatin’s bandmate also riffed on his guitar with melodic textures, indicating that his new album really is that much more analog and expansive than assumed.

Many times during the show I could have seen myself whipping out my phone and recording a track or two just so I could capture the aural and visual chaos that was enveloping me, but I never did. In fact, I don’t recall seeing anyone taking their phone out throughout the entire hour. I think we were all in the same trance, eyes locked on an ordinary stage that was anything but ordinary.

You could easily have walked into The Regent Saturday night without any knowledge of who was playing, and you still would have been, for lack of a better word, mind-fucked. Even with previous knowledge of Oneohtrix Point Never, though, you would have felt just as in the dark as he expanded upon his live performance with color and vibrancy, continuing the notion that Lopatin is becoming much more open to crafting “songs” rather than just tracks and still looking to show and not tell, leaving us with an awareness that he has more tricks up his sleeve than ever before. Praise unto you.

Garden of Delete is now available via Warp Records.

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Oneohtrix Point Never