When it was released in 1996, Beck's fourth studio album was considered by many to be a masterpiece of mid-'90s grunge and his best work since his 1994 debut, "Mellow Gold."
Critics praised "Odelay" for how creative hip-hop sampling was used to accent and unify the patchwork quilt of styles its creator explored. For the last six weeks, The Communicators, a trio of local bands, have been diligently working on deciphering the album's intricacies in preparation for Beck the Halls, a start-to-finish rendition tonight at Track 29.
For Track 29's Halloween Bash, The Communicators performed a similar album tribute to The Beastie Boys' "Ill Communication." The show attracted about 1,100 people, far more than the hundreds they expected, and inspired the super group to adopt its name, said Scott Kent, aka DJ Scratch Dent of the local hip-hop DJ trio Toneharm.
"I think [Track 29] was as surprised as we were," Kent said. "We were quite surprised, and that definitely helped the energy in the show."
Like "Ill Communication," "Odelay" has proven a bit of a beast to tame, requiring at least two, sometimes three, multi-hour weekly practices, a trailblazing activity for Toneharm.
"That's all new to us, as DJs, practicing with a band," Kent said. "Normally, being a DJ, you just practice by yourself. I enjoy the challenge."
As they've smoothed out the edges of the album's 13 tracks, including hits such as "The New Pollution" and "Where It's At," however, Kent said the end result has been worth the work.
"You've got to make it sound right," he said, laughing.
Toneharm will be joined by psychedelic rockers Glowing Bordis and members of The Nim Nims, both of whom played the Halloween Bash. Local bluegrass/country group Strung Like a Horse will also join the lineup for this show. As with The Bash, each band will perform individual sets and will unite to close out the night with "Odelay."
The evening also will feature performances by Dandasha Bellydance Show and holiday-themed activities, including band costume changes and photos with Santa.
Even two weeks out from tonight's show, Kent said the end result should prove that the Halloween Bash was no fluke and that future performances of other albums are not out of the question.
"Working with actual musicians over DJ'ing has been a whole lot of fun," he said. "That's why we decided to do it again."
Contact Casey Phillips at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6205. Follow him on Twitter at @PhillipsCTFP.
IF YOU GO
* What: Beck the Halls, featuring Glowing Bordis, Toneharm and Strung Like a Horse.
* When: 9 tonight.
* Where: Track 29, 1400 Market St.
* Admission: $10.
* Phone: 521-2929.
* Website: www.track2.com