Geographer | Getty Center | July 27, 2013


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Mike Deni of Geographer at the Getty

Earlier this year, a friend of mine from elementary school, Yoko, sent me a message on Facebook that I should check out a band play at The Echo called Geographer. A lot of friends and associates suggest bands for me to check out, and my obsessio …. curiosity about new music usually gets me to at least look the band up, but I’ve consistently seen this friend at random shows I’ve attended over the past few years, so her suggestion didn’t go unnoticed. I listened to the music, liked it, and wanted to see the band perform, but as fate would have it, tickets had already sold out. I messaged her back and she messaged me that she would give me a heads up the next time the band was scheduled to be in Los Angeles.

Fast forward about 4 months, and I get another message from my friend that Geographer was playing a free concert at the Getty as part of the “Saturdays off the 405” summer series. It had been a while since I had attended a show at the Getty, and I was excited at the chance of checking them out at that beautiful venue. Reading a review about how the wait in line to park at the museum for these concerts sometimes takes upwards of an hour and a half, I bought a sandwich and head over early, hours before the the scheduled set time. My planning didn’t really go as planned, and the cars waiting to park were already lined up and down Sepulveda. So I waited patiently.

After 5 minutes sitting in traffic, I texted Yoko to see where she and her friend were at. She texted me back saying that they were parking.

After 15 minutes sitting in traffic, since I hadn’t seen Yoko in a while,  I checked out her Facebook page. I knew she had gotten married in the past year, so I figured now would be a good time to learn her new last name.

After 30 minutes sitting in traffic … I was still sitting in traffic.

After 45 Minutes sitting in traffic, I decided to look up the band to get more info about their history. The lead singer’s name was Mike Deni. The cellist’s name was Nathan Blaz. The Drummer’s name was Brian Ostreicher … wait a minute. That name sounded familiar. I went back to Yoko’s Facebook page to confirm- even though I had just commit it to memory- that her married name was Ostreicher. HAHAHA. What I love about the whole situation was that Yoko never tried to get me to check out the band based on her literal “relationship” to them. For that, she gets perpetual music, brownie points.

KCRW DJ Mario Cotto
KCRW DJ Mario Cotto Warming Up The Crowd

After waiting an hour, I finally pulled into the lot to park my car. I took the tram up to the museum, found a spot, and ate my sandwich while looking over the scenic views of Los Angeles from the Getty, and afterwards found to a spot stage right while Mario Cotto, a KCRW DJ was spinning tunes. Yoko met up with me, and we caught up a little. She told me that she would be working the merchandise table, and I told her that I would meet up with her again after the band wrapped up.

Geographer is an eclectic electro-indie pop group and their music reminded me a bit of Passion Pit, MGMT, Animal Collective and Erasure all rolled up into a unique trio. I was particularly taken with Nathan Blaz on the electric cello. It was the first time I’ve seen an electric cello used effectively in a band, and its sound was lush, adding rich layers to the electronic arrangements. I imagined what it would sound like if Nathan had a chance to have a session with Miguel Atwood-Ferguson. I’m sure that would be something.

Together with Mike Deni’s gentle vocals and Brian Ostreicher’s surging drumming, the music bounced off the high stone walls and glass windows of the Getty and created a wonderful musical experience for those in attendance, despite the long wait to park. LOL.

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Mike Deni of Geographer
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Nathan Blaz of Geographer
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Brian Ostreicher of Geographer

IMG_2352I texted Yoko and asked her to set an LP aside for me when the set ended. Before meeting up with her, I caught up with another friend to say, “Hi.” It was all for the better as the merchandise line was incredibly long, and seemingly never ending. When the line died down, I head over to say my hellos. Yoko pulled out the LP I asked her to save, and we chatted and caught up some more. Speaking with the guards/ushers, they told me that I could hang out for a minute, and I had a chance to get the guys to autograph my LP. Yoko took a picture of me with the guys, but I seemed to have accidentally deleted it. All good though. I think I’ll be able to get another picture with the fellas when they’re back in Los Angeles later in the year. After all, I did grow up with the drummer’s wife … LOL.

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Mike Deni of Geographer
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Nathan Blaz of Geographer
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Brian Ostreicher of Geographer

SET LIST:

  1. Paris
  2. Life of Crime
  3. The Dream Has Faded
  4. Night Winds
  5. Kaleidoscope
  6. Verona
  7. Blinders
  8. Kites
  9. Lover’s Game
  10. The Boulder
  11. Shell Beach
  12. Can’t You Wait (Encore)
  13. Original Sin (Encore)

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