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O’Brother
Chop Suey, Seattle, WA
3 April 2016
By: Dave Wexler


Tonight, a wormhole opened up and swallowed me completely.  That wormhole was generated by O’Brother, the 5 piece band from Atlanta, Georgia. O’Brother is currently on tour with Foxing, Adjy & Tancred and tonight they were in Seattle at Chop Suey.  This wasn’t my first time seeing them, but the band continues to grow and get better, and it felt like I was seeing them again for the first time.

Words cannot accurately describe what happened in the 45 or so minutes, but as two guys next to me agreed, we were on another planet with the band. They kicked things off with “Bloodlines”, the first single off their new album Endless Light smacking the entire crowd in the face.

In between thrashing my head, I glanced around to see the faces of some kids who knew what they were in for and the rest not knowing what was happening to their minds.  Fronted by the enigmatic Tanner Merritt, the band goes from quiet to blisteringly loud in the matter of a nanosecond as he only adds to that with his soft and calming voice to his gut-punching scream.  

The next two songs “Lay Down” & “Easy Talk (Open Your Mouth)” are from the band’s first full length album Garden Window.  They have re-worked the songs a little bit which blew my mind wide open, giving a new shine to songs they have been playing for 5+ years.  I looked over at one of the dudes next to me during “Easy Talk” and with his eyes closed he wasn’t just hearing the song, he was feeling it.

That’s the main thing about this band; they bring the total package to their live shows: music that is beyond loud coupled with the calmer atmospheric parts, a simplistic and blinding lighting rig that sets the visual tone and 5 members who physically put it all out there (I’m looking at you, Johnny Dang, the maniac).  

The Dang brothers (Anton & Johnny) were born to be purveyors of sludge/trippy/wormhole metal with their long hair whipping it slow to fast all over the place as they abuse their guitars. Johnny, in particular thrashes in his corner like a lemur on acid.  And then there is Michael Martens, who nearly jumps onto his drum kit as he pounds the ever-living crap out of it.  And last-but-not-least Jordan McGhin whose vocals compliment Tanner, and his guitar is another weapon for the welcomed assault to our ears.

As the journey through the wormhole forged on, they tore through a few more fantastic new tunes “Your Move” & “Deconstruct” which outshined their heaviness on the record, an impressive feat.  At this point in the night I was thinking to myself how this band has gotten better live since their previous album ‘Disillusion’ came out.  I see how they wear their musical influences on their sleeves, and it truly shows, from Sigur Ros to Radiohead to the Deftones, they make the music they want to while seemingly keeping true to who they love.

They ended the journey with “Ascension” from their early EP The Death of Day and “Absence”, from Disillusion, closing out a beautiful & blistering 7 song set.  Mike nearly destroyed his kit and our eardrums, but it was all worth it.  All I could do was scream out “HOLY FUCK!” at what my body just felt as my brain was a pile of goo.  

O’Brother is a beast, made up of 5 parts and their live show, just as their albums would dictate, is only getting better and better.  If you like music, especially the louder wall of (chaotic) sound, I implore you to check them out and support them.  As I told Anton last night, “keep doing what you’re doing and never stop, even if you guys were to fart in a microphone for 60 minutes, it would be worth listening to.”

No, it really would.

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