ITCHY-O IS A DENVER-BASED PERCUSSION-CENTERED ELECTRONIC PERFORMANCE GROUP
Lauded as one of today’s most unique musical-performance groups. With a driving drum corps battery, taiko drummers, an arsenal of electronics including synthesizers, theremin, vocoders, and other custom-made sonic devices, itchy-O completely engulfs an audience from every angle in an electric bog of music, ephemera, and spectacle. The group disrupts traditional performance protocols with a form of chaos that unifies spectators and audiences with a powerful and immersive musical experience that features elaborate costumes, large-scale puppets, teams of provocateurs, and SpFX engineers. Drawing inspiration from many cultures – Japanese Taiko drumming to Chinese Lion dancing, Mexican street processions, ancient esoteric symbolism and American drum corps, itchy-O offers a transcendental musical experience that dissolves the divide between performer and spectator. Itchy-O performances awaken the senses, test assumptions, and create an opening for new experiences where identity and boundaries surrender and disband.
Itchy-O was selected to act as a centerpiece at MONA’s world renowned Dark MOFO fest in Tasmania in 2016, has played with David Byrne & St. Vincent, and performed at Riot Fest with Iggy Pop, Bad Religion, and Public Enemy. They have headlined the Denver Center for Performing Art’s Hallowmass and are the darlings of Austin’s prestigious film festival, Fantastic Fest, performing there three years in a row. They have opened for DEVO, Beats Antique, The Melvins and have been featured on Colorado Public Radio (CPR), Openair, KGNU’s After FM. They have also performed at 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 six years in a row.
Itchy-O is also committed to providing spectacular free public performances in the spirit of challenging predictable mediocrity and delights in delivering engaging and mesmerizing art to the streets by providing spontaneous musical encounters in non-traditional settings for unsuspecting audiences through these guerilla-type performances organized clandestinely with participating locations.
History and Influence:
Itchy-O began as an experimental solo project when the first primordial album, Pulmonic, was recorded and crafted from layering animal heart noises found on an instructional veterinarian vinyl record by its founder (who chooses to remain anonymous in the media). Since then, it has blossomed into to the 50+ member performance group it is today.
Burn the Navigator and From the Overflowing were later recorded and released on Jello Biafra’s famed punk rock label, Alternative Tentacles and hundreds of performances have followed. Drawing inspiration from many cultures – Japanese Taiko drumming, Chinese Lion dancing, Mexican street processions, ancient esoteric symbolism, French mime-clowning techniques, and Western drum corps, to name a few, itchy-O blurs the lines of origin exposing timeless and mystic archetypes. The performance troupe is deeply influenced by the visual vocabulary and shamanistic psycho-magic of Alejandro Jodorowsky, the archeology of Sir James G. Frazier, the Master Musicians of Joujouka, J.G. Thirwell, Talking Heads, Einstürzende Neubauten, DEVO, the Residents, and the immersive performance styles of acts like Crash Worship.
Content and Form:
Itchy-O creates transcendent musical experiences by blending many cultural iconographies in an effort to provide a distinctive offering that dissolves familiarities, awakens possibilities, and employs the true nature and power of hive-minded ceremony. With a performance troupe of over 50+ musicians, dancers, puppeteers, and special effects experts itchy-O creates a space where the performer and audience co-create an ecstatic artistic experience. Shaking all tenants of tradition, the percussive rhythms of the drum battery and taiko drums intermingle with unique custom-crafted electronic devices, providing a primal-futuristic spiritual immersion.
Impact—artistic, intellectual, communal, civic, social:
Societies today largely choose what to see, hear, and believe. Our lives are carefully curated and programmed by ourselves and outside influences. Itchy-O challenges that hierarchy of choice and control by inserting its one-of-a-kind creative chaos. We invite our audiences to embrace mystery by passing between knowing and unknowing, self and other. Performances create a temporary community of co-creators who surrender control as observers to become a part of manifesting a shared artistic experience.
“itchy-O shows over and over again that they’re not a bunch of stoned hippies passively sitting around a sloppy drum circle. Instead, they’re shaping these intrinsic rhythms and beats with new musical perspectives that are as sophisticated and complex as they are savage and primordial.”
“The itchy-O Marching Band tore down the third wall (and the fourth and the fifth) in an all-enveloping performance that aimed to elevate the conscious mind. Tonight, we would realize all dichotomies are false. Nearly three-dozen performers roared from the stage and the dance floor. They weaved among audience members, making us part of the show. Further blasting away the notion of differences, Itchy-O combined cultural forces: Taiko drums, mariachi getups, pseudo fascist propaganda, Illuminati cultishness, cyberpunk splatter, alien space jams, full-face hijabs, even a Chinese dragon that writhed about the dance floor in wild abandon throughout the entire set. There was solidarity in our collective acknowledgement of the freakishness of our ways — all of our ways. Think 21st century drum circle, where cyborg bulls are slaughtered on the altar of Mystery Science Theater 3000.”
OFFICIAL VIDEO FOR “BLACK MIST” OFF THE 2018 RECORD “MYSTIC SPY + PSYKHO DOJO”
ITCHY-O PERFORMING “FROM THE OVERFLOWING” AT MEOW WOLF
OFFICIAL VIDEO FOR “GALLOW’S DISCO” OFF THE 2017 RECORD “FROM THE OVERFLOWING”
ITCHY-O PERFORMING “FROM THE OVERFLOWING” LIVE ON WGN-TV CHICAGO
“Itchy-O… sounds like Blue Man Group if it were infiltrated by satanists and members of Sepultura.”
ITCHY-O PLAYED FOUR NIGHTS AT THE DARK MOFO FESTIVAL IN TASMANIA
“If you missed the earth-shattering, life-changing musical stylings of Itchy-O last year, this is your chance to rectify that. Itchy-O is now officially Fantastic Fest family.”
“What the fuck just happened?… Denver’s itchy-O is the future of showmanship — or at least what it should be. There’s truly nothing like the crowd involvement that the group provides, basking in originality and a refusal to abide by the norms of live music.”
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