Fun Fun Fun Fest Live Shot: Thee Oh Sees

Bay Area punks bridge the generation gap

By Tim Stegall, 8:35AM, Sat. Nov. 9, 2013

Fun Fun Fun Fest Live Shot: Thee Oh Sees
photo by Shelley Hiam

Of every band playing Fun Fun Fun Fest this weekend, Thee Oh Sees will be the one that I love unconditionally, but will not understand. It’s the generation gap in action.

Chief Oh See John Dwyer and his three Bay Area compatriots will bash away at their instruments like the most important bands in punk rock history were the Monks and the Fall. They will apply that same wayward drive to modern psychedelia – meaning odd octave unison vocals drenched in reverb and tons of corrosive fuzz guitar.

They will be tight as hell while reveling in a ramshackle amateurism.

Thee Oh Sees define minimalism and repetition in action, yet still throw in a drum solo. Petey Dammit wields a Fender Jazzmaster as if no one told him it wasn’t a bass guitar, while whiplashing himself to the point that I’d hate to see his chiropractor bills. Thee Oh Sees rock with an impunity that negates the fact that their guitars are strapped so high they could be Gerry & the Pacemakers.

I enjoyed this sonic science, even as I do not fully understand it. There’s nothing straightforward about them, even though there is. They fly straight at you from all sorts of obtuse angles – and that’s not all that’s flying.

The Oh Sees have such demon energy. Tunes like “The Dreaming” and “Ghost in the Trees” inspired more stage diving and crowd surfing than has been seen this side of a Bad Brains gig. Frenetic psych will set you free.

For more Fun Fun Fun Fest coverage, see www.austinchronicle.com/fun-fun-fun-fest. For photo galleries from the fest, see austinchronicle.com/photos.
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