REVIEW/PHOTOS/VIDEOS: The Olivia Tremor Control & One Man Machine @ One Eyed Jack’s – 8/29/11

REVIEW/PHOTOS/VIDEOS: The Olivia Tremor Control & One Man Machine @ One Eyed Jack's - 8/29/11

The Olivia Tremor Control @ One Eyed Jack's - 8/29/11 - Photo © Wesley Hodges

@ One Eyed Jack's - 8/29/11 - Photo © Wesley Hodges

The Olivia Tremor Control is as much of an abstract high concept as it is an experimental rock band, while opening act kind of just left me, well, speechless.

One Machine and the Powers That Be! is helmed and directed by the attention-grabbing and teetering lightning rod of frontman Bernard Pearce. The accompanying (stoic) drummer and guitarist rode the atonal sonic waves Pearce created on his synths, doing their diligence to keep up with and help develop Pearce’s next improvisational deconstruction. At times Pearce’s delivery came by way of a punkier, more forceful/surly Jim Morrison shout, and at other points in the 30-minute set he conjured up the humorous and tuneless semi-verses/choruses of Biz Markie. Dramatic-induced hypnosis was the name of the game, as Pearce had the audience transfixed on his every move, outlandish loop and improvised verse, each more unexpected than the last. The only thing normal about the man was his apparel, wearing a black Tipitina’s shirt and dark shades, looking the part of your everyday local hornsplayer when everything about his performance suggested that he perhaps should’ve been rockin’ a George Clinton ‘do with a tattered Prince velvet suit – Pearce was anything but your everyday horn-wielding local, although he did play a gnarly trumpet, guitar and synth. I for one won’t soon forget this performance and if the Voodoo organizers are listening, book this act, would make for a greatly unexpected midday tent performance that would be anything but boring.

The Olivia Tremor Control just came across my radar over the weekend and just in time to catch the Athens, GA band as they came out of hiding from a long touring hiatus (minus a few short jaunts and one-offs over the years) on Monday night to kick off a rather extensive tour of the U.S. and Europe in New Orleans. The band also just released their first single since 1999 today on NPR (check it). This was the kind of sensory-jarring discordant performance I haven’t seen the likes of from a rock band since January’s Yo La Tengo show at Tipitina’s – and even that is a very loose frame of reference for what transpired on Monday. The band showed a little rust stumbling from one song to the next, but that was part of the charm of the well-attended reunion (attended by Bill Doss’ mom and sister) on Toulouse Street. Switching between adventurous and short 2-3 minute pop songs and sprawling psychedelia kept the room on their toes until the epic, 9-part “Green Typewriters” movement kind of sea change’d the whole affair. This segment of the show left the lasting impact: an audaciously long, at times downright cacophonous blur of noise that not-so-seamlessly meandered in and out of popcraft segments and musical chairs instrument-switching freakouts that harkened Sonic Youth (noise walls), John Cage (scattered noise), Phish (vocal jams), Pink Floyd (the overall construction) and transition-era The Beatles (psych-pop segments). When it was all said and done, all I could really manage was “that was cool” or something similarly mundane. An un-profound reflection on a profoundly unique show.

August 30, 2011 |  by  |  Photos, Reviews, Videos
About the author

Wesley grew up in coastal Georgia and is a former resident of The Music City and The Big Easy where he helped get LMB NOLA off-the-ground after launching in January 2011. Over the past few years, he has also contributed steadily to JamBase and Relix Magazine. Recently, Hodges moved on to L.A. where Abita Beer is hard to find, costs about $6 if located and impromptu parading in the streets will most likely get you arrested on the spot.

 
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