Seven Years Since Thee Oh Sees

I can’t seem to conjure up any witty or elegant terms to describe the Oh Sees live show, so I won’t. Instead I will say they left it all fucking out there as did the audience thrashing about in central portion of the floor. If one was completely hearing impaired, all one would have to do is look to the swirling vortex of sweaty bodies to determine the tempo and energy of a given song. Like a powder keg, bodies exploded toward the ceiling with bombastic opening riffs and beats as was the case with songs like the show opening “Plastic Plant” and recent cuts from 2017’s Orc including “The Static God” and “Animated Violence.: Other tracks had the sea of bodies swell and recede with the rhythm and tempo of the song, as was the case with “Toe Cutter/Thumb Buster,” “The Dream,” “Jettisoned,” and “Web.” Frontman John Dwyer acted as a sort of Neptune donning a clear acrylic bodied SG instead of a trident as he raised and lowered the tides with garage/surf cuts like “I Come from the Mountain,” “Dead Energy,” and aptly titled for this metaphor and a favorite among many tonight, “Tidal Wave.”

In keeping with the apropos surf metaphor, the L.A. foursome included barefoot bassist Tim Hellman, drummers Dan Rincon and Paul Quattrone showcased center stage, and Dwyer in his signature cutoff shorts and striped tank top. These “dudes” were anything but laid back in their performance, however. Unlike the surfers themselves, one might mistakenly associate their sound with, it’s more appropriate to imagine the landscape of underwater caverns, crashing waves, swirling tidal pools, and surreal sunsets that frighten rather than delight. The evolution of the band’s lineup is indicative of the evolution of their sound and even their name. Most recently known as Thee Oh Sees, then with their latest release, Orc, as Oh Sees, the band is now known more simply as OCS. Names aside, the one fact that remains with this band’s live show is that you’re going to get everything they’ve got and as a concert goer, what more can you ask for.

Having last played Boston seven years ago, tonight felt like the result of 7 years of preparation or the release of seven years worth of energy, however you might choose to see it. Dwyer joked, “people have been asking us why we haven’t been back in over seven years and I wish I had a better story for you but the truth is I’m just fucking lazy!” Says the guy who founded OCS and has recorded 17 albums with them. The same person who has a solo career and three more albums as Damaged Bug. The very same 42 year old who has played in Coachwhips, Pink & Brown, Sword & Sandals, and Up Its Alive. If he sees himself as “lazy” I must be a fucking corpse! Regardless, the wait was more than worth it and I can honestly say it’s gonna take a real unexpected tidal wave to take this down from the #1 spot of best live shows of 2017.


Hang 10 out of 10 for OCS!

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    Setlist:

1. Plastic Plant
2. The Static God
3. Tidal Wave
4. Toe Cutter / Thumb Buster
5. Withered Hand
6. Animated Violence
7. Dead Energy
8. Sticky Hulks
9. I came from the mountain
10.The Dream
11.Web
12.Jettisoned
13.Contraption / Soul Desert

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