Monday, February 16, 2009

Live: Ocean with Salome, Riff Cannon and Batillus @ Public Assembly 2.15.9

So I'm doing a feature for Skyscraper on Ocean and it hadn't been going all that smoothly (all on me, guys) but luckily the Maine gents were going to be in town, and with Batillus, no less, so it seemed prudent to get on the bike and see if the live show uncorked the writers block. 

At the last minute, they asked me to shoot, so I made some calls to see what I could do about scaring up a piece of armament more suitable than the I-phone. Luckily Andrew and Gab came through with the hook-up and a couple hours later I was off to the races. Public Assembly is the old Galapagos. For some reason I though the show was free up until the last minute, when I realized that Pitchfork were running things and that the show was in the back room. I got there too late for Batillus and Riff Cannon. Salome were on by the time I swanned in, a three piece featuring a guitarist and drummer backing a female who sang, screamed and grunted through the songs I heard them do. The drummer was pretty fucking sick, though, and while I'm not so into the screamed unintelligible vocal thing, Salome were a good time. Did I mention the drummer was sick? I would not want to keep that guy in drum heads, I'll tell ya. I was bummed that I missed Batillus, but didn't feel too bad missing something called Riff Cannon. Sorry.

Ocean were ready in short order. I was pleased to see Yoshiko Ohara from Bloody Panda milling about, as it portended well for her reprising her cameo from their new record Pantheon Of The Lesser. Ohara and her voice processor did in fact make an appearance, and it was pretty damn great, even moreso coming from a five-foot raging Japanese lady in custom cowboy boots. Doom shows are an interesting animal, but oddly enough, infinitely more palatable live . Some air moving and a visual element go a long way towards making it more than just another 'loud band' show. Ocean are tight, and the new record has a nice mix of quiet and loud stuff that makes for a better live show. You almost don't realize that the songs are a half-hour long. I could do without the Pterodactyl vocals, but the vocals are much more of a textural element than on the average band's songs. I wouldn't want to go to a doom show every night, but this was a good one. It is worth pointing out that the crowd of males up front comprised the largest population of short-runners for America's Most Sociopathic I've seen since in attendance at a single show since the old days in the basement at ABC. But judge Ocean not by the beds their fanbase wets nor by the arsons they commit. They have a great record and pull it off live. Look for the Skyscraper article in a couple months. In the meantime, you can get a copy of Pantheon Of The Lesser from the good folk of Important Records here. Keep track of all things Maine, beard and Ocean related here.



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