By Erin Jardine
November 26, 2016
VANCOUVER — Despite having played in Vancouver a few times in the past year, Thee Oh Sees deemed it fit to grace the Downtown Eastside with their grungy presence once again and considering they sold out the Rickshaw, it’s a good bet we will see them again soon.
Opener Alex Cameron was a wonky creature, performing vocals live with instrumental backing tracks and harmonies, his dancing across the smaller stage framed in by stacks was eye catching enough without a band. He wore light coloured clothing and relished in the spotlight during his time. The backing tracks were reminiscent of the 1950s analog recordings of high-pitched women’s choruses. Cameron concluded his set fairly early for a two-act show, and many didn’t get a chance to see him as the line outside the Rickshaw remained steady as Thee Oh Sees started to set up.
Lead guitarist and songwriter John Dwyer’s stage presence is truly unique. Clustered at the front of the stage instead of spacing themselves out, the show took on an intimate feel, as if we were all watching a band in their basement jamming, which is a textbook element of what this type of music should feel like at a show. Dwyer positions his guitar high on his chest, and his spastic dance moves appear as if he is brandishing a weapon. He lunges and flails around the stage, his right arm furiously swinging like a pendulum on the strings. Dan Rincon on bass was a treat, he has really nailed down the essential bass tone for Dwyer’s guitar to complete the sound. He was an unassuming presence, standing barefoot onstage but every once in awhile a bass line would rattle things up and be heard extremely clearly. Dwyer loves his guitar slides, and pretty much every few minutes a guitar-sliding freak-out breakdown would happen in between holding noise-oriented notes for a sustained amount of time. With some of their well-loved songs peppered into their set, for the most part Thee Oh Sees’ live sound is more of a jam, with long instrumentals and a partial rejection of structure.Alex Cameron, BC, British Columbia, Rickshaw Theatre, Thee Oh Sees