Levitation Live Shot: Thee Oh Sees

Garage-rock whimsy and punk-scuzzed psychedelia

The early bird got the worm last night. San Francisco’s Thee Oh Sees commenced their set 25 minutes early, sans notice. Keyboardist/backup vocalist Brigid Dawson sitting this tour out, Saturday’s overhauled boys’ club lineup boasted dual drummers for the slot’s hour-plus entirety.

From 2013’s Floating Coffin, “I Come From the Mountain” opened rowdy – energy ablaze out of the gate. Fest security dispensed free water bottles as the pit grew steamier, but it was hardly consumed. Enthused and unruly, fans launched cups, full beers, beach towels, and streaming rolls of toilet paper in the air, onstage, all over.

Neither crowd nor bandmembers cared what was hurled their way. That reckless abandon fed the foursome’s raw vibe. Promising new cuts “Web” and “Withered Hand” teased the group’s forthcoming ninth album, Mutilator Defeated at Last, which drops next week.

Woo! John Dwyer (Photo by Shelley Hiam)

“Thank you very fucking much, Austin!” announced frontman John Dwyer, his echoing vocals still soused in reverb.

A ferocious fusion of garage-rock whimsy and punk-scuzzed psychedelia, Dwyer, like War On Drugs’ leader Adam Granduciel, commonly inserts a trademark “Woo!” mid-song. That habitual tic shouldn’t be undervalued. Later, hooky “Toe Cutter” reaped a mighty reaction, as crowd-surfers sprung like a Whac-A-Mole blitz.

“Is everybody ready for Primal Scream?” posed the singer. “I fucking thought so.”

Fans cheered, but their fixed attention and relentless enthusiasm suggested the Californians could’ve exceeded their stellar 70 minutes with nominal objection.

Levitation preview and reviews.

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Thee Oh Sees, Levitation Fest 2015, John Dwyer

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