October 26 and 27 brought the Oh Sees to Hotel Vegas in Austin, showcasing songs both new and old. Fronted by vocalist/guitarist John Dwyer, the Oh Sees have gone through various name and lineup changes, with Dan Rincon and Paul Quattrone currently acting as the drummers, Tim Hellman on bass, the only constant being their sound and John Dwyer. Best described as garage rock with psychedelic and experimental elements sprinkled in, I was fortunate enough to finally catch them live with no barricade and no safety nets, in true Oh Sees fashion.
Prettiest Eyes started off the night by opening for the Oh Sees. I only caught the second half of their set, but it was a second half worth staying for. A trio from Los Angeles, California, the band consists of Pachy Garcia on drums/vocals, Marcos Rodriguez on bass and Paco Casanova on the keys. Although they’re very humble lads, their sound is anything but humble, giving hard hitting vibes in a manner similar to the Oh Sees. I later talked to Paco after the show and learned that their entire set was from their LP release Pools. Prettiest Eyes is definitely a band worth listening to if you’re into the whole Oh Sees-Ty Segall sound.
The Oh Sees, man oh man what a band. Leading into the night, my friend Chris had been hyping me up on how prolific their shows are; chaotic bliss with just enough bruising and shoving to enjoy yourself without injury. He wasn’t kidding, when the band took the stage the crowd immediately pushed forward. During sound check, the crowd was putting themselves in the mood by jumping rhythmically to random drum beats and a string of notes. At this point, I knew what was going to happen at this show: my body was going to get destroyed and my hearing was going to be impaired for the rest of the night.
The band finally opened the night with the song “Plastic Plant” off of their 2016 album A Weird Exits and everything went straight into a frenzy with people starting to stage dive into the crowd. The band then continued by playing older songs like, “I Come From the Mountain” and “Tidal Wave” before transitioning into a trio of songs that included “Jettisoned,” “Nite Expo” and “The Static God,” off of their 2017 release Orc. This was the highlight of the concert for me, as the majority of the crowd (including the myself) knew the lyrics and transitions for each song, making the shoving and moshing a lot more pleasurable.
One of the more interesting moments of the night came when they were transitioning out of their Orc segment. John’s strings broke off his guitar and rather than halting the performance briefly, the band decided to play a rhythmic instrumental while John sat on stage restring his guitar. It was a testament as to how loud and aggressive the Oh Sees are live, and how they’re able to appease the crowd despite any minor setbacks.
The calm before the second storm occurred when they played the song “Encrypted Bounce.” Up until that point, they were going non-stop, fueling the crowd with energy that I had never seen before at any concert. What makes this song different from its studio counterpart is the extended jam they do after the original cutoff. It acts as a sort relaxant to soothe the crowd regain their composure, before leading into the final stretch of the night. No aggression or shoving, only rhythmic bopping to the music with some people perched atop the stage. The contrast between the two dynamics was amazing, and truly showcased how the Oh Sees’ music affects their fan base.
They ended the night playing three more songs (no encore), capping the night off with me crowd surfing to the song “Contraption / Soul Desert,” coming to terms with the bruises and hearing loss that I had accumulated for the entire night. I came to the show expecting to get destroyed and entertained out of my mind, and I was not disappointed. The Oh Sees are known for their prolific and wild live performances, and I have lived the tale backing truth to that claim.