Thee Oh Sees’ sold-out gig at Howler

Quiz time: Which of the following is true?
a) Thee Oh Sees have two drummers.
b) They sold out their three Howler gigs.
c) They’ve produced 14 studio albums.

If you answered ‘d) All the above’, you’re correct. If you answered ‘They also play some pretty awesome garage rock’, congratulations, you’re my new gig buddy.

Howler is the perfect venue for the boisterous, distorted rock of San Francisco garage punk exports (and honorary Melburnians) Thee Oh Sees, who are touring their 2015 release Mutilator Defeated at Last. At their final Melbourne show, I missed opening act Orb, but caught second act Power, who opened with a cover: ‘Johnny B. Goode’ by Chuck Berry, enough to peel my attention away from the cute redhead on my left. They then clipped their amp by employing their ‘turn amp up to 11’ strategy, but swiftly overcame this with a solid set of Iggy Pop-Buzzcocks style Australian punk rock. Will see these lads live again.

I’ve seen Thee Oh Sees live too many times to count; it’s always a loud, sweaty affair, but this visit marks the first with their dual drummer lineup. Both drum kits are positioned front and centre stage. There’s no stage barrier at Howler, so it’s toms and symbols all up in your grill. Oh yes.

The drone of amp feedback is a welcome milieu for drummers Dan Rincon and Ryan Moutinho to abuse their kits as frontman John ‘JPD’ Dwyer deep throats the mic like Mia Khalifa to produce muzzled vocals that complement his warped punk chords. I made space for my own jerky elbows as I guzzled down a relentless dose of thrashy garage riffs and rapid triplet drum fills that triggered the demise of my resistance to the possessed crowd jostling around me like a yellowfin tuna orgy. By the end, drummer Ryan looked simply exhausted after a punishing set of percussive debauchery. Loud, in your face, on point.

Ate: Raucous garage rock.
Drank: Probably some sweat, but definitely La Sirène Wild Saison.

– Matt
Matt M. is a mad scientist by day and beer connoisseur by night. When he’s not devouring a new set of craft beers you will find him in a dankly lit room plotting his approach at the next alcohol-related festival.

Check out Thee Oh Sees website for music and shows, Howler for cool local and international gigs, and this hilarious JPD interview.

Disclosure: The Plus Ones were invited guests of Remote Control Records.
Photo courtesy Keats Mulligan from Mixdown Magazine.