OM Drone Indefinitely at the Independent, 2/20/13
By CORY SKLAR
Om at the Independent last night.
Sir Richard Bishop
Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013
Better than: Dropping out of life with bong in hand.
There was no way local stoner-doom heroes OM were going to sell out at The Independent, right? Wrong. I arrived to frenzied crowd of stoned people begging, pleading, and attempting to bribe anyone and everyone within the will call line for tickets. After a bit of sweet talking to the box office, I managed to get in -- but not without feeling like I'm getting too old for this.
The show began with a mesmerizing set of solo guitar by Sir Richard Bishop (formally of The Sun City Girls, the band he started in 1979 with his brother Alan and the late Charles Gocher). Seeing Bishop's Indian-tinged playing live is like watching a master craftsman at work: A man so in complete and total control of his instrument. A total inspiration to watch. It was the perfect starter plate for what was expected to be an epic main course.
OM walked onto stage for their last night of tour and started right away. People barely had time to get their joints out. Bandleader and bass-god Al Cisneros was joined by recent addition Emil Amos of Grails on drums and Rob Lowe of Lichens on keyboards and backup vocals. Seeing the the band as a trio was a bit of a trip. Rob Lowe's playing adds so much to the overall sound of the band, and his choices and arrangements really brought together the newish tracks from the group's 2012 release, Advaitic Songs.
It's completely unfair and dismissive to call OM a metal band in 2013. The music hit so many styles and crossed so many genres that you couldn't really nail the group down to one type of music. At times last night, OM sounded like Funkadelic's Maggot Brain; other times it sounded they were channeling Van Der Graaf Generator's guitar-less prog grooves. Maybe it was the insane amounts of weed smoke in the air, but it was utterly fascinating to watch how much ground these dudes were covering musically. Cisneros' ease on stage is very inviting to the listener. He plays his Rickenbacker bass as if it's just another appendage he was born with. Friends we ran into at the show all basically said the same thing: "I just want to go home and play bass now!"
OM's songs are long. I think they played like four songs the whole night, though not once was it meandering, tedious, or boring. The group kept it interesting the whole time. OM's set can only be described as "super tasty," much like the fried Popeye's chicken across the street from venue (munchies!!!). The infinite groove could have gone on to 4 a.m., and the audience would have eaten it up.
Merch table: About 75 minutes into the show, I decided I needed a tour shirt. I get to the merch booth and ask the guy for an XL. "We are all sold out." I ask, "Out of EVERY style?" He nods his head yes. Turns out OM fans are all fat dudes, too. Oh well.
In unison: As I weaseled back into a nice spot in front of the stage, an older gentleman with a long grey beard proceeded to hand me a hand-carved wooden pipe full of freshly dried ganja, probably purchased at the pharmacy directly catty-corner to the venue. As I turned to him, I noticed the audience full of men and women in their late 30s, early 40s, ever slowly banging their heads in synchronized succession. Together as one, the sold-out crowd moved in the same groove, the same headspace. It was a beautiful sight to behold. I am getting too old for this, and OM's set made that totally okay.
1. That really long one
2. The 40-minute one
3. The 30-minute one
4. Jeez this song is long