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Thee Oh Sees w/Sic Alps
October 7, 2012 @ 7:00 pm$15
This show is so solid that I was forced to keep rechecking just to be sure of which one of these groups was headlining. Then I kept trying to remind myself that Thee Oh Sees seem to have Sic Alps edged out a bit in the public notoriety game. They’re both from the same San Francisco “garage rock” scene and both are known for completely redefining and blurring the lines of exactly what “garage rock” even is, but Thee Oh Sees have put out around 11 full-length albums and a shit ton of 7-inches and EPs. The Alps aren’t doing too shabby with their own output–they’ve released three 7-inches of their own between last year’s Napa Asylum album and their recent self-titled LP–but 45s don’t make as big of a wave, as far as more mainstream coverage is concerned.
With constant touring and their prolificity of output, Thee Oh Sees do not only consistently remain on everyone’s tongue, but they are proving their live chops, left and right. Frontman, John Dwyer is an enigmatic performer that handles his guitar like it’s an extension of his jerking body, manhandling it while bending, tweaking, slashing, and clawing out chords, showcasing completely different techniques from track to track. Songs range from frenetic bursts of sound to soaring wails, shredding psychedelic numbers, to melodic garage pop gems–sometimes incorporating all of these components within one cut. The drumming is impressive with it’s unorthodox precision and, for a band that doesn’t employ a bassist in the traditional sense, they create some really nice grooves on the low end. Their current incarnation even features Lars Finberg of The Intelligence-fame as a completely unnecessary second drummer, but it could very well be amazing. Based on hype alone, Thee Oh Sees seems to be one of the best live acts around right now. At least that’s what the kids are saying. (Can someone tell me if their name is a reference to oxycontin?)
Songwriter/guitarist Mike Donovan can tear through heated skronks and fuzz-tinged psychedelia in his own right, but Sic Alps tracks tend to have a thick weighted opium haze around them, like they were written from the stomach–a stomach coated in the promethazine and codeine ooze of a styrofoam quart’s worth of purple drank. On their new self-titled LP, songs often trudge and churn forward like they’re being hand cranked. Other times they float gently, as if they were placed gently down a tranquil river, or rise up like beautiful multi-colored steam from the soul of a time-lapsed decomposing peacock. Overall, they’re bringing a heavy, yet subtle, Beatles vibe on much of this one, as if they were playing rough renditions of the Fab Four’s mellower tunes with instruments that had been casually driven over by a Geo Metro. I hope that this is all sounding great to everyone, because it honestly and truly is. I’ve yet to see them live, but they can presently claim Noel von Harmonson of Comets on Fire as a member and, bay area garage junky, Ty Segall, who is tremendous live, was even a brief temporary/former member, as well.
Don’t miss this show and, if you do make it out, don’t fucking miss the opener! You do do what I tell you.
Full list of THEE OH SEES / SIC ALPS Dates Tour Dates
Tuesday, Oct 2 – Missoula, MT @ VFW w/ Thee Oh Sees
Wednesday, Oct. 3 – Calgary, AB @ Broken City w/ Thee Oh Sees
Thursday, Oct. 4 – Calgary, AB @ Broken City w/ Thee Oh Sees
Saturday, Oct. 6 – Vancouver, BC @ Rickshaw Theatre w/ Thee Oh Sees
Sunday, Oct. 7 – Seattle, WA @ Neptune Theater w/ Thee Oh Sees
Monday, Oct. 8 – Portland, OR @ Doug Fir Lounge w/ Thee Oh Sees
Tuesday, Oct. 9 – Portland, OR @ Doug Fir Lounge w/ Thee Oh Sees
Thursday, Oct. 11 – Eureka, CA @ The Shanty *
Friday, Oct. 12 – San Francisco, CA @ Great American Music Hall w/ Thee Oh Sees
*Thee Oh Sees not on the bill