WRITTEN BY: SAMI RAHMAN
The sound of resolute, revitalizing rock and roll flooded the crowded basement of Underground Arts on Thursday Nov. 10. Thee Oh Sees, the brainchild of enigmatic frontman John Dwyer, left subtlety at the door in an effort to thrust the liberal masses from their state of shock. In the only reference to Trump’s recent election, Dwyer at one point yelled, “We can either survive the next four years, or we can get wild!”
It only took one fan’s “let’s get wild” response to launch the band back into full blast.
The opening bands did a great job of setting the stage for the garage rock heroes, with the moody pop songs of Straight Arrows flickering softly into the already crowded basement.
The second opening band, The Guests, immediately captivated the audience with a blitzkrieg of pounding drums, slashing guitars and howling vocals. Hailing from Australia, it’s clear that their rock ancestor AC/DC’s spirit has given The Guests a strong influence for their music. Thundering away like the Kinks as cavemen, it was the ideal way to set the stage for Thee Oh Sees.
The fans in the front of the crowd held out plastic bones, beckoning the band forth. When Thee Oh Sees plugged in, the onslaught barely let up as they burst into “The Dream,” from their album “Carrion Crawler/The Dream.” It was so thrilling that beers were being flung through the air by the second chorus. With two drummers front and center on the stage flanked by a bassist and Dwyer himself, the rhythms were truly bone-rattling. Dwyer’s vocals were unintelligible shrieks, but the rest of the band was aggressively audible.
Thee Oh Sees went through all of the classics from their many albums; crowd-surfing and slam-dancing accompanied each new discharge of sound. Dwyer was all tattoos and flailing limbs for the freak-outs, but the band was more than content to throw in some dynamics, allowing for brooding tension to build before letting out the cathartic explosions of noise.
They closed with fan-favorite “Web,” and the energy did not let up for the entirety of their concise, but satisfying set. Thee Oh Sees did not play an encore, so the audience trickled out, giddy and energized.