It’s not every day that England are in the World Cup semi final, and it’s also quite the rarity that San Francisco garage dwellers Oh Sees claim a live date outside of their busy festival schedule, and yet the worlds of sporting and unparalleled live music collide in a truly unique evening at Leeds O2 Academy.
Following on from a disappointing knock out of the World Cup, frequent chatter is quickly turned into cemented promises as a discussion of “the best live band there is” is widely heard in pre-show banter, rousing even more anticipation for the four piece to take the stage. Those familiar with frontman John Dwyer, and more importantly those who’re accustomed to his prolific take on music making will be aware that he’s renowned as quite the hero of neo-psychedelia in the West Coast scene. His name often spoken in the same sentence of the likes of Ty Segall, King Khan & The BBQ Show and that goes without even mentioning any of his many side projects that include Coachwhips, The Hospitals and more. With expectations already set high, post-match morals relatively low and a confused crowd consisting of band tee’s and football shirts, it’s time.
Tearing straight into ‘The Static God’ from recent release Orc, England’s lack of luck in the World Cup is quickly forgotten as the sporting stadium is transformed back into a live music haven. A crescendo of noise signals not only the beginning of the track and their set, but also the Oh Sees claimation of the space.
Dwyer shreds some pretty complex riffs nonchalantly throughout the set, showcasing his ornate talent while driving the crowd into a frenzy as limbs flail and bodies are carried over each other. A dual drum kit setup allows the band to truly live up to their noisemaker reputation, as the two drummers simultaneously mirror each others’ movements, creating complicated rhythms and driving the force behind the sound. Taking their audience on a journey through their back catalogue, with fresher sounds being combined with singles from as early as 2011, the versatility of this group of musicians knows no bounds.
With such an exceptional set, only a grand finale will do and so the plunge straight into ‘Contraption / Soul Desert’ is met with the utmost appreciation. An extended live version of the single allows for fancy riff fillers, more crazy crowd antics and a real confirmation of why the Oh Sees are hailed as the best live band.
Press image courtesy of Thomas Girard
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