Osees @ The Liquid Room, Edinburgh, 8 Nov

John Dwyer brings his prolific, ever-moving ensemble to Edinburgh for raucous, energetic good times

Live Review by Lewis Wade | 10 Nov 2021
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The band currently stylised as 'Osees' are a staple of the live scene throughout Europe/North America. They're almost constantly on tour, and steadily releasing albums that give some variation on their honed, hard-pysch-garage rock sound. So how does a band that pretty much everyone has already seen, with an overwhelming back catalogue of somewhat interchangeably great records, make such an impression? Basically: by rocking the fuck out.

It's unbelievably simple, even cliched, but John Dwyer and co. embody an enviable work ethic on stage – every drum fill is bashed to death (by either of the two drummers) and if Dwyer isn't soloing or laying down thick riffs he's harvesting feedback or making weird percussive noises (except when he briefly leaves the stage to get a beer and some chips). Never not DIY, the band conduct their own soundcheck that hastily leads into the show proper – they set out the no-frills stall early and stick with it.

The pit gets going from the opening I Come From the Mountain and doesn't let up for 90 minutes, though it does occasionally get tripped up by the band's improvisatory deviations. There are snappy garage cuts like Rogue Planet and Electric War that hit like an electric shock, and others that build and release like Jettisoned and Toe Cutter/Thumb Buster, demonstrating power through contrast. Dwyer bends his vocals perfectly to each moment: sometimes he sounds like a creepy Glenn Danzig, sometimes he's an unhinged David Byrne, sometimes he's just howling or yelping. But it's always on point, even when he knocks over the mic stand (which is often) and the sound quality is consistently outstanding; despite being so loud it's always possible to pick out melodies and appreciate the technical intricacies.

Sticky Hulks is the first of three songs that have lengthy breakdowns and allow a breather and some synth noodling – adding a psychedelic element that keeps the show from being relentless rawk. Animated Violence leans into the metal aspects of the band, which they're more than happy to indulge, and features one of the best dual-drumming showcases of the night. C is the final song, a laidback groover that doesn't give the pit the big final blowout it's looking for, but still rocks harder than anything your average garage-rockers are coming out with. And when you've been going batshit for an hour and a half, another freakout isn't super necessary – the sweaty, knackered bottleneck on The Liquid Room stairs can attest to that.