OSEES Live @ Royale, Boston MA, [09-20-23]

OSEES Live @ Royale, Boston MA, [09-20-23]

Thursday, 21 September 2023

There is no doubt that the Oh Sees (formerly Thee Oh Sees, then just OCs, then OSEES) are an unstoppable force. Releasing what seems like their 40th album this year and another one already announced, it’s important sometimes to step back and assess what you’re getting with this band because their catalog can easily meld together into a metropolis of music. With all this published material, what would front man John Dwyer choose to highlight in a live set?

The first thing to keep in mind was that the crowd at this OSEES show seemed like they were champing at the bit. The anticipation was so thick you could cut it a knife on the floor of the Royale. It’s also a rare time in the OSEES history where their lineup has remained unchanged for a while and one would expect better dynamics and a tighter set from the band. Are they so very different than they were in 2017? For anyone who’s never seen the band live and as a guy next to me cared to share, “Prepare to be blown away.”

Like I said, the OSEES albums can sort of blend together because there are so many of them. But their latest Intercepted Message is maybe the most coherently absorbable they’ve sounded in a long time. The album sounds like a concept and all these songs belong together. And live? It’s simply such an elevated form of their music. It’s impressive right away just how similar these songs sound to their recorded counterparts. OSEES songs are NOT simple and straightforward by any means, and it’s pretty incredible seeing Dwyer perfectly recreate his riffs and noodling live. Second would be just how loud this band sounds. There’s only four of them, and two drummers (which might be the best iteration of a two-drummer lineup I’ve seen) but the sheer noise hitting you is surprising and fascinating. The energy coming off this band was in peak form and this was perfectly matched by the crowd, who were very much into it, crowdsurfing, jumping, swaying, and damn near formed a circle pit on a number of occasion. Simply put, the OSEES at the Sinclair was a room of pure energy. I’m an old man, but I was on the floor almost front and center right at ground zero. The band never turned off the action switch, so the crowd didn’t either. How could you not love the whole thing? What a night! Way to go, Boston! Way to go OSEES!

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