Review by Scott Thomas. Photos by Mary Rehak.
On Saturday, November 20, the Lone Star was flowing and a gathering of music appreciators were waiting to hear a trio of diverse, but not entirely unrelated bands at Mohawk. At the end of a month of touring, the duo of Oh No, Oh My and the Pomegranates found themselves in Austin after an all day drive from El Paso. But before they stepped foot onto the stage the local band A Tiger Named Lovesick played to a modest but interested crowd.
Thomas Reeh on guitar and vocals and Alexis Ramirez on bass played a tight set together. They really gave me the impression that they knew and trusted each other musically, and the experimental and noisy but calm sound they produced worked because of it. The percussions were the only thing holding the band back, not because they were bad by any means, in fact they often were one of the most note worthy parts of the music, being varied but also steady with a machine-like precision. In fact, that machine-like precision is attributable to the percussionist being a computer. It was a little awkward watching two talented musicians turn from the audience between songs to open drop-down menus and navigate computer software. Fortunately this didn’t result in any technical difficulties, but it does feel like this group is one human short of complete.
|Greg Barkley of Oh No Oh My|
The next set was a homecoming for locally raised band Oh No, Oh My. Their upbeat and genuinely enjoyable sound is the type of music to get heads nodding, toes tapping and guys pulling their girls in just a bit tighter. This large sounding, acoustic, electric, synth and percussions combo with a helping mix of backup vocals is the type of thing that’s propelled lesser bands into the atmosphere. But most of the songs in their set was the type of music with a low barrier of entry for enjoyment, which translates into not that interesting. That’s fine for bands that want to make easy-to-listen to crowd pleasing tunes, and I’ll listen to it too. But when it’s time for me to clear room on my hard drive for pirated legitimately-purchased episodes of Mad Men, it’s usually those bands that get deleted first. In other words, they don’t have staying power for me. Fortunately, in the middle of their set, they flirted with music that stood out in two tracks off their new album – “Brains” and “Walk Into Me,” the latter of which featured an especially interesting breakdown.
I’m not trying to say Oh No Oh My isn’t coming from a genuine place, the band members sweaty brows and energetic performance proved their enthusiasm for the music they were playing. I just think that to make a more lasting impression they need to get out of their, and the audience’s, comfort zones.
Finally, about midnight, the headliners The Pomegranates came onstage, kicking things off with a green mist as a visual cue and the song “Sleepover.” It’s an engaging toe tapper with the multilayered, multidimensional sound that made up so much of the Pomegranates earlier music. Things really started up though with their second song, “Prouncer”off their newest album, One Of Us. My favorite thing about the newer Pomegranates sound is that it is more confident. Their previous two albums definitely brought talent and interesting musical ideas, but I think they were more interested in packing as many of those ideas into one song to keep the listener interested.
|Joey Cook of Pomegranates|
Instead, on One of Us, the Pomegranates take the elements of the song sthat work and run with them. It could have just made them boring, but it’s done the opposite. You can really hear that in “Prouncer,” a rocking tune with a fast pace. They followed that with the title track from One of Us, a song that could work sans words. The lyrics take a back seat to the very talented instrumentals. That isn’t to say the lyrics don’t add anything, the distant sounds of vocals contribute to the song’s moody, atmospheric feeling.
The band’s whole discography is impressive, but it really is their latest album that the band’s strongest material resides. So my only problem with the rest of the set was a complaint you don’t hear very often after musical act: they didn’t play enough of their new stuff. Earlier tracks are definitely solid numbers and I was very happy to listen to them. But aside from “Anywhere You Go” played in the second half of the show, they didn’t play any other songs off One Of Us. That struck me as strange because the album has been well received and they have gone on tour to promote it.
The show ended with “Everybody, Come Outside,” the title track to their second album. It’s a positive feeling number with group vocals instructing everyone to, well, come outside, hunt some buffalo, and stare at UFOs, amongst other activities. It was a great track to end the night on. The Pomegranates took the audience to a number of places musically, and ending there seemed like an enjoyable goodbye to the people in attendance. Unfortunately, the crowd inside the Mohawk wasn’t that significant, but those who were in attendance seemed to respond positively to what they’d seen and heard. There might not have been a swell, but those who saw Saturday’s show will more than likely come back to hear a great number like this one again.