Osees beautifully busted up my right ear drum at Belly Up, Solana Beach
It’s pretty much impossible to find a group that grinds harder than Osees. I remember in 2014, frontman and guitarist John Dwyer announced that Osees (at the time known as Thee Oh Sees) were going to be taking a seemingly lengthy hiatus after releasing eleven albums in eight years, not including compilations and live albums. It was a super big bummer as they had just released their most successful album Floating Coffin just a couple of months prior, but we soon found out this hiatus would only last a teeny tiny five months. Since coming off hiatus, Osees have dropped another eight studio efforts (not including companion, synth and remix albums) to add to their discography. So TLDR; between their phenomenal back-catalogue and their notoriety as an unmissable live act, Osees have cemented themselves as the pinnacle garage act of the modern era.
Opening the show was garage act Smirk; a side project of musician Nick Vicario. This five-piece delivered slick and bouncy garage and punk songs with some tight synth melodies popping in every once and a while.
Teenage Michael (me, hello) started flipping out when Osees started ripping into “I Come From the Mountain,” immediately noticing the sheer decibels wafting through the air. Thus began an awesome sequence where the first six songs of the set came from six different Osees releases; Floating Coffin, Singles Collection Volume 1 and 2, Carrion Crawler / The Dream, Face Stabber, Mutilator Defeated at Last and Orc. It was a great way to remember just how incredible Osees career has been up to this point.
As the show went on, I was blown away by Dwyer’s insane control over his guitar. It seemed like he could manipulate sound by moving his guitar in specific ways. The double drummer approach worked perfectly for their more groovy and krautrock inspired tracks like “Nite Expo” and “The Daily Heavy.” After twenty songs, ninety minutes and many a psychedelic jams, the night ended as the sold out crowd roared with appreciation for what they just saw.
P.S. Remember to wear your earplugs to shows so you don’t have a tinnitus scare when you wake up in the middle of the following night 😀