Show Review:The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Thee Oh Sees at Bimbo’s 365, 9/29/10

by Pouria Yazdi on October 2, 2010

Thank you, silverfuture for sharing this pic from a show earlier this year...

I recently started law school and as a result have been staying away from any sort of fun. This week has been a break from the grindstone I’ve been resting my nose on. I started my week of leash loosening at Bimbo’s 365 on Wednesday night. This was my first time there and the one word I can use to describe it is “classy.”

So it was fun seeing Thee Oh Sees who rock with such high energy and intent contrast with that classy establishment vibe. Thee Oh Sees are a 60s pop infused pop rock band. What that means is pretty much coolness. Headed by John Dwyer Thee Oh Sees focus on fast beats that are the perfect cure for your doldrums.
Their frantic pace, high-pitched lyrics, and intensity send you into a psychedelic trance. Almost like there is a siren call trying to get you to get closer to the speakers. Seeing Thee Oh Sees I encountered a lot of vocal yelps, yips and squeals. It’s almost as if their trying to keep the attention of a ADHD crowd. Thee Oh Sees need no help keeping the audiences attention though, they are really fucking cool.

What I like about Thee Oh Sees is that although their sound seems to be homage to a bygone era, it’s not immediately recognizable. It’s like a growth, a movement from that origin. I don’t think I’ve ever said anything that pretentious, and Thee Oh Sees definitely don’t have an ounce of pretense within them…I guess what I’m trying to say is that within their short 30 minute set I saw enough to really dig them. If you’re looking to bob your head then seek them out.

If you’ve never heard of The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion do yourself a favor and educate your senses by exposing them to the explosion.  The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion is an auditory treat.  One that arguably, if hadn’t come along, we wouldn’t have some of the great bands we do, like the White Stripes.  Touring in support of their recent Remastered Catalog The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion graced us with their presence in Bimbo’s.

The makeup of the crowd varied.  Ages ranged as greatly as the styles; it seems the Blues Explosion knows no boundaries.  Every member of the band had their own unique style and act.  Jon Spencer (guitar, vocals, and theremin) was decked out in awesome, sparkly leather pants with knee patches.  Spencer is no doubt the driving force for the Blues Explosion commanding the band with various gestures and faints.  He is a sight to behold.  That dude sweats like crazy.  I never knew what the sweat of the Blues Explosion actually meant until seeing them live.  You would literally see mists of sweat puff into the air every time Spencer enunciated a syllable.  It was fucking cool.

Judah Bauer on guitar, was acting as cool as a cucumber.  He’s what I imagine Steve Cropper to be like.  Throwing in the crucial but not overly overt riffs and licks Russell Simins on drums looked and played like a man possessed with the Blues Explosion devil.  Almost like he was zombified by the Blues Explosion.

I couldn’t tell you how many songs they played because they just fucking played on huge explosion of rock.  Sometimes I felt the tempo weakening and was questioning if I should stay, every time I did I’d get to see amazing guitar playing, performance, and effort.  I was getting a sermon in rock and it ruled.  I wouldn’t say the entire show was on fire as I felt there were some sound issues, especially in terms of hearing any of Spencer’s vocals, but the band knows how to throw an amazing show.

The finale was a theremin filled distortion-fest.  It was frantic, bluesy, loud, and out of control.  The bass was coming through the floor and felt like there was an earthquake.  Thankfully it was just a blues explosion (had to use that pun).  I really hoped they would stay off stage and not come back for an encore as I didn’t know how they were going to top themselves.  The encore itself started off slow but, as I had feared, ended up amazing much to my joy.  It was like a mini-representation of the entire show; although there were weak moments overall I had my mind blown.  I learned that night that Blues Explosion is a verb, noun, adjective, and adverb.  Hopefully next time they’re in town you’ll learn the same thing.

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