NOVEMBER 26th 2016

Review by Lana Muirhead
Photos by Peter Ruttan


At first glance I didn’t think much of Thee Oh Sees nor was I super impressed by the tunes I’d previewed on the blessed Interwebs.  Having said that I was completely knocked on my heels when the band got started at the Rickshaw on Saturday night. Fast paced, post-punk, hyper-energetic beats bellowed through my eardrums and I was immediately scolding myself for judging a band by its audio alone (though really…kind of an important first step in the screening process).  It has been a while since I was introduced to a band, eschewed their music, then went to the show and was absolutely sold on said band by their live performance.

Guitarist and lead vocalist John Dwyer was a force to be reckoned with.  He essentially was the live band, moving, grooving and gyrating to the beats all while somehow keeping his guitar strapped up around his nipples (à la Beatles era).  Bassist Tim Hellman kept time gingerly tucked back by the drum kit and was decidedly comfortable enough halfway through the set to remove his shoes. This must be his way of creatively “grounding” himself as Dwyer and drummer Dan Rincon gave precisely zero fucks. Speaking of drumming, Rincon did a great job keeping his cool as well as time despite the barrage of crap being thrown at him and the guys.  I felt like I was in the zoo and poor Thee Oh Sees was the unfortunate patron being pelted by the monkey turds.  Only the sad fact was that the monkeys were concert-goers and the turds were half-full cans of beer.  Call me old fashioned but whether you’re into a band or not you should at least have the courtesy of holding onto your drink.

Despite the hooligan crowd, TOS gave it their all, opening with hard-hitting, punky-rock tune “I Come From The Mountain”, following up with “The Dream”, “Dead Energy”, “Plastic Plant”, “Gelatenous Cube” (among others) and epicly drawn-out closer “Contraption/Soul Desert”. The now-L.A.-based band has a catalogue dating back to 1997, when The Oh Sees was not quite formed but Dwyer had the skeleton of it in his back pocket.  And he rolls with the punches: not two days before TOS’ latest album release, “An Odd Entrances” (released November 18, 2016), second drummer Ryan Moutinho walked away for undisclosed personal reasons.  Having to not only deal with this but also the asshole crowd, which did very much love the band, I’m sure TOS will take a good long break before coming back to Vancouver.

Though I was less than impressed with my fellow zoo creatures, I had a great time discovering Thee Oh Sees.  And though I would not necessarily listen at home on my own, I would absolutely recommend catching the live show.  Whether it’s your scene or not, the group’s energy is contagious and I left with a fever…