The Olivia Tremor Control - Sons of Hermann Hall - 4/27/12
The Olivia Tremor Control, Woods, Deathray Davies
Zach Hale The Olivia Tremor Control
Sons of Hermann Hall
Friday, April 27
Odds are, if you're an astute follower of the DFW music scene, you've attended a Tactics Productions or Parade of Flesh event at some point. So when they co-conspire to put on the same show, expect good things. Such was the case at Friday night's meeting of the minds, and with the dimly lit, 101-year-old Sons of Hermann Hall serving as its backdrop, the show's atypical, shrewdly stacked bill was appealing to both rock purists and progressive-minded folks alike.
It was a bill heavy on history, both in an educational and reverential sense, so there was nary an opening act more suitable than The Deathray Davies.The Dallas group's manic, guitar-driven pop was as heavy on hooks as it was riffs, straining them through John Dufilho's amplifier. His refined songwriting approach played well with those in attendance, but ultimately the band just looked like they were having fun.
Rising Brooklyn five-piece Woods took the stage, appropriately, to burning incense. Comparing bands to Neil Young is old hat now, I know. But between Jeremy Earl's distinctly nasal falsetto, his tinny guitar twang and the tactical employment of my kryptonite (the harmonica), the comparison here is as apt as any. Their set, like their catalog, was strong in the melody department, and delved even further into mind-expansion than they do on record, further underscoring the strength of Earl's songwriting.
By the time The Olivia Tremor Control took the stage, the psych heads and rock purists had eagerly migrated to the front. The band powered through a lengthy and diverse collection of songs, evoking the sounds of years past (namely The White Album), while even incorporating some new material. The highlight of the night? Toward the end of the show, each band member went off-mic but continued playing their instruments, while walking a circle through the crowd, singing and clapping their way back onto the stage as part of a celestial encore of sorts. It was at this moment when I felt like I was witnessing a pivotal yet under-appreciated part of music history. Judging by the pumping fists I saw scattered throughout the crowd, I wasn't the only one.
By the way: Deathray Davies frontman John Dufilho doubles as drummer for fellow Elephant 6 band the Apples in Stereo. Methinks their placement on this bill was not a coincidence.
Personal bias: I used to think I was the biggest fan of OTC's "Jumping Fences," but that was before I encountered the guy in the front row furiously head banging and tossing his flannel shirt in the air. He probably has me beat.