Multimedia extravaganza invades Hult Center; Musicians, dancers and acrobats take stage with orchestra

Medium Troy performs with The Bohemian Dub Orchestra at The Hult Center May 10.Photo: August Frank

Medium Troy performs with The Bohemian Dub Orchestra at The Hult Center May 10.
Photo: August Frank

For four hours, the Silva Hall at the Hult Center was transformed into a multimedia music and dance collaboration, a modern fantasia which felt more like a psychedelic club rave than a concert, with the added fun of a costume party.

This was the much-anticipated Bohemian Dub Ball on the night of Saturday, May 10.

The ball had its roots in local Eugene band Medium Troy. The three members of the group, Connor Sullivan and brothers JoJo and Jessie Ferriera, all attended Lane. Their idea of combining a full orchestra with their trip-hop-inspired beats, grooves and socially conscious lyrics had its first outing last November at The McDonald Theater. The Bohemian Dub Ball expanded that show.

The 30-piece Bohemian Dub Orchestra consists of a full string section, horn section (both brass and wind), guitar, accordion and percussion. They are led by conductor Jeremy Schropp. Jessie Ferriera said that there are at least 10 members of the orchestra currently enrolled at Lane.

For visual effect, LightAtPlay, an interactive lighting design company, provided two half-globes for either side of the stage at floor level and a massive globe suspended centrally above the stage. These interactive light sources responded to the music and the movement of the dancers, generating constantly shifting color patterns throughout the evening. Think of these as highly advanced, digital versions of a disco ball.

Many people attended in full costume. I saw a cossack, a pirate, an apostle and countless other outrageously outfitted people, all contributing to the atmosphere and spirit of the event.

The show featured five DJs, five dance troupes and a set by Medium Troy. Among the DJs, nationally renowned artists Devin the Dude and RJD2 generated the greatest crowd response.

The first half of the show saw an appearance by the Broadway Revue Burlesque. Their high-spirited, hilarious and slightly naughty routine, complete with high kicks, delighted the audience. They were followed by the Work Dance Company, Eugene’s premier hip-hop and jazz-funk troupe, which gave a Vampire-themed routine to a pounding beat. It was reminiscent of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” but with much more aggressive and extreme shapes. Devin the Dude closed the first half of the show. His down-tempo hip-hop flow and sense of humor had the crowd waving their hands in the air.

The second half began with a set by Medium Troy backed by the Bohemian Dub Orchestra. Among their tunes was crowd favorite “SpaceTree,” a new electro-swing number and a heavy-duty cover of Portis-
head’s classic trip-hop anthem “Glory Box.” During their set, various dancers moved around the stage. An aerial silk artist drew gasps from the crowd. A gymnast did flips and rear-screen projections synchroniz-
ing with the music appeared behind them. The crowd surged forward, drawn by the sheer power and energy of the combination of Medium Troy and the Dub Orchestra. They received a huge ovation.

The final act got underway after a quieter dance piece by Harmonic Lab and a very lively breakdance crew that popped and spun to hip-hop beats, which included a slow-motion sequence to Chopin’s E minor prelude.

RJD2 ended the night with a lengthy set using four sets of turntables and two samplers. He capped his set with a superb collaboration with the Dub Orchestra. They continued throughout the Grande Finale, as the various dance groups returned for brief reprises of their earlier sets. His energy, innovation and musicality was the perfect way to bring this extravaganza to a close.