A common saying since Rock & Roll started branching out is that: “rock is dead”. All those who revel in the bands of the past can attest to this, saying repeated phrases like “now that was back when music was music.” and “everything today is just so flushed out with meaningless lyrics or just motivated by the money,” but I think you just need to find the right places to look. Don’t get me wrong, we are all guilty of this (at least I know I am) but it doesn’t have to be like that. Three bands in one night were able to make me believe rock isn’t dead, in fact its just as alive as it has ever been.
The night started with a bang. OBN III’s came on and blew me away. The singer’s performance was ferocious and energetic and the rest of the band followed his lead. I don’t think he sat still for a second, unless it was to take another sip of his drink while holding his mic up to the soloing lead guitarist’s amp to add even more power to their sound. They weren’t the only ones who couldn’t sit still. A pit started and even the singer had to get in on the action and so he joined the audience for a song or two. At this point the crowd was loving it and by the time their set was over the crowd had been left screaming for more.
The Blind Shake came on soon after and didn’t disappoint. I had wondered how they were going to follow the previous band, but they got their audience into the groove to the point where I struggled to stay in the front and capture photos. This trio consisting of 2 “detuned” guitarists and a drummer had such a unique sound I was baffled as to how they did it. Through the use of pedals and strange picking techniques they had made the perfect set of noise that got the crowd moving and set Thee Oh-Sees up perfectly.
Because of the rampant energy in the crowd during The Blind Shake, I had to mentally prepare myself for Thee Oh-Sees. I knew the audience wouldn’t hold back singing and moving to their favorite songs and I didn’t want to miss a good shot. I held my ground for the first 3 songs but after that I couldn’t help but be consumed by crowd. This was the first time I have ever been in a pit too hard to handle and take pictures at the same time. Thee Oh-Sees put on a stunning performance. The sounds John Dwyer was making with his guitar didn’t make physical sense and the rest of the band complimented his every move. The fuzzy screeches and continuous delays were creating something that any fan of the weirder side of rock would grovel in. The mood of the room was constantly shifting from pure ambient amazement to fast and rhythmic movement. I am surprised that no one had a heart attack with the violent, yet exciting dynamic shifts. I wasn’t surprised to find out that this show had been sold out. I’ve never seen so many people in the Constellation Room before and I don’t think a single one of those tickets went to waste as the place was filled to the brim with sweaty bodies and smiling faces.
That is what made me realize Rock isn’t dead. It’s standing right in front of you, because in the end every smiling face in that audience left with an experience they won’t soon forget. The very nature of Rock is to be inventive and different, that’s why it’s evolved so fast. And if you’re looking for inventive and different then look at Thee Oh-Sees, The Blind Shake, and the OBN III’s, because they are changing the game, and I’m excited to listen when bands branch off from their style because nothing is more enticing than weird.