Artist: Ozric Tentacles
Venue: B.B. King Blues Club (New York, NY)
Label: Magna Carta Records
I was really looking forward to checking them out in a live setting. For years they had developed a strong underground following in the UK and in recent years have found themselves establishing more of a fanbase in the US with their genre-bending music. It’s tough to categorize the Ozric’s music as they are a unique blend of Psychedelic/Progressive mixed with Techno and a Jam band. Yet even that is not a proper description for as while some will probably think “that’s not Metal!” the Ozrics quickly will show you that being heavy is more about attitude than the now cliché down-tuned guitars chugging away. I admit to being a newbie to the band, with the first album I ever got my hands on being “Spirals In Hyperspace”; Based on this my enthusiasm for the show and interest are perfect for other new fans, here are some of my impressions on the event. The show was at B.B. King Blues Club in NYC, and while there was a decent turnout when they performed I expected more people to be present. The group would be headlining the 2006 NEARFest in Bethlehem PA this coming weekend, so perhaps this was why it wasn’t packed to the doors. Personally, I love seeing a group in a comfortable setting more than a giant place so I felt others had missed out on this shows intmacy Here are my impressions.
If you are a fan of excellent guitar playing, then you owe yourself the favor of checking out The Ozric Tentacles purely for the stellar guitar playing of Ed Wynne. This guy flat out kills with a combination of textural playing and shredding solos. Wynne’s creative guitar playing gives the Tentacles an organic quality that puts them far ahead of the “techno” or “trance” labels some people might drop on them. When you add to this the fact that he is an impressive keyboardist as well he becomes a musician that is appealing all around to watch perform.
Over all I was totally impressed by the high level of musicianship of the entire band. The drumming layed down by Metro held a display of tight focused precision. Very simply the guy is a machine and drum fans should take note as while I watched him I kept thinking that this guy has got to be a Neil Peart fan. Brandy Wynne was visibly enjoying performing and all night she was laying down some great sounding synth parts. These textures and moods truly added to the overall Psychedelic/Techno feel of the band. She is also nothing but smiles and enthusiasm throughout the night. The bass playing by Tom Brooks was solid and driving as well and made this a truly powerful quartet. The amount of sound and texture these four are able to put out is really something that has to be experienced in person. Their songs are well written and expertly arranged but to the new listener there might seem be a little lag from time to time. Yet just when you would think a yawn is coming on, or when things would become repetitive – the band would once again kick in and take it to another level. I feel there are far too many bands that miss the opportunities that the Ozrics seem to easily grab by the throat.
It was mentioned that Ed Wynne was having technical problems with his main keyboard, and before going into a song he said “if you hear any weird sounds from the equipment that they would just ride it”. Cool, “go for it and jam” I say. I love when musicians play on the edge as that is where the magic happens. Needless to say if there were any audible glitches they went right by me because everything sounded great to me. The band had a lot of gear on the stage with Ed’s gear and boards on top of Brandy’s several keyboard setup and drums and bassist stuff. “Ride it” they did and everyone present enjoyed that they did. If you are a fan of skilled musicians no matter what the style you should give Ozric Tentacles a listen. I think you will be pleasantly surprised, I know I was.
Set List (Incomplete):
1. Jurassic Shift
Official Web site: www.ozrics.net