Thee Oh Sees

Thee Oh Sees

Thee Oh Sees

Live in San Francisco

Castle Face

Thee Oh Sees played less than two hours from my home last year, and I talked myself out of making the drive. Why? I don’t even remember. Probably because of not wanting to deal with interstate traffic, or something equally as dumb in retrospect. What the garage punk ragers new live release Live in San Francisco does is make me mentally kick myself HARD for missing out.

The ever changing lineup, whose sole constant is frontman (and Castle Face Records founder) John Dwyer, had TWO DRUMMERS on this tour. That’s twice the brain numbing clash and bang, twice the beats to smash your head against — when coupled with Dwyer’s elastic guitar play and distorted trickery, it’s twice the mind expansion. And it’s captured here, clean but crunchy, with the funk and splatter still griming up the walls of sound. See: “Gelatinous Cube,” or “Toe Cutter Thumb Buster” — the latter of which my girlfriend, upon walking into the room and hearing the song, declared “sounds like a galactic squirrel drowning in an acid pool.” And, now, how often does THAT get captured on record?

For those looking for a little more accessible melody in their music, “Tidal Wave” is a naughty garage rock wet dream, steeped in surf and sex. It’s the closest Thee Oh Sees come to a hit song, and it’s tucked into the setlist like a chunk of chocolate at the center of a cookie.

The audience noise is a bit too low for my taste, though many will prefer it, but every now and again you can hear some splattering of applause. Maybe it was a quiet crowd, maybe they were all dazed by Dwyer’s hypnotic drone — too spacey to hoot, holler, and scream along. “Sticky Hulks” alone, with its desert landscapes and Velvet Underground vocals, could send the most sober person in the room on a technicolor trip. Dazed, or awestruck, who can say. I wasn’t there. Just like I wasn’t there when this California band came so close to my Florida home. After hearing this release, that’s a mistake I don’t plan on making a second time.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Recently on Ink 19...

  • The Lyons
    The Lyons

    A man on his deathbed is surrounded by bickering family members, many of which you would strangle him given the chance. In other words: a brilliant comedy!

  • The Reading Room
    The Reading Room

    Today’s episode features author Anna-Marie O’Brien talking about her book Adventures of a Metalhead Librarian: A Rock N’ Roll Memoir with Ink 19’s Rose Petralia.

  • Bush Tetras
    Bush Tetras

    Rhythm and Paranoia (Wharf Cat). Review by Scott Adams.

  • Tom Tom Club
    Tom Tom Club

    The Good The Bad and the Funky (Nacional). Review by Julius C. Lacking.

  • Barnes & Barnes
    Barnes & Barnes

    Pancake Dream (Demented Punk Records). Review by Carl F. Gauze.

  • Jeremiah Lockwood
    Jeremiah Lockwood

    A Great Miracle: Jeremiah Lockwood’s Guitar Soli Chanukah Album (Reboot). Review by Bob Pomeroy.

  • Metallica: The $24.95 Book
    Metallica: The $24.95 Book

    From an underground band that pioneered the thrash metal sound, to arguably the biggest rock act in the new millennium, Metallica has had a long and tumultuous history. Ben Apatoff scours a myriad of sources to catalog this history in his new book.

  • Araceli Lemos
    Araceli Lemos

    Shortly after AFI Fest 2021 wrapped, Generoso spoke at length with director, Araceli Lemos about her award-winning and potent feature debut, Holy Emy. Lemos’s film uses elements of body horror in her story about the exoticization of two Filipina sisters living in Greece and how that exploitation creates a distance between them.

  • Southern Accents 55
    Southern Accents 55

    A woofin’ good time with cuts from Hank Williams, Muddy Waters, Delta Moon and more from KMRD 96.9, Madrid, New Mexico!

  • Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead
    Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead

    Absurdism with a healthy dose of air conditioning.

From the Archives