Review: Thee Oh Sees at the Gothic Theatre, 11-7-14

by Lee Strubinger

photo: Thee Oh Sees press
Thee Oh Sees

A weather front of some kind moved in. The evening air turned crisp over south Denver as the freaks and the weird piled into the Gothic Theatre Friday night.

Thee Oh Sees were in town, what else would you expect?

It’s a blessing Thee Oh Sees made it to Denver so soon. Not long ago they were in the midst of an “indefinite hiatus.” Some, perhaps, thought they were done for good. And others maybe thought they’d take a year to catch their breath, at least.

But Thee Oh Sees is one of the tireless bands out there making music today, with constant tours and studio output. Instead of taking a break, Jonathan Dwyer and company released a new album, "Drop," in April and have embarked on a massive fall tour. Denver was their second stop.

So it seems nothing has changed.

However, hardcore fans of Thee Oh Sees will notice the garage psychedelic rock group no longer carries the same touring lineup that once featured Brigid Dawson. Instead, Dwyer hit the road with drummer Nick Murray and bassist Timothy Hellman. Don’t fret: as Pitchfork reports, the band still consists of the same recording lineup.

Regardless of what line-up showed up in Denver on Friday, the trio wasted little time whipping the crowd into a frenzy. Playing the likes of “Tunnel Time,” “The Gate,” “Toe Cutter-Thumb Buster,” and “I Come From The Mountain,” the band turned the front section of the audience into a rollicking, almost friendly mosh pit. I would venture to call it the third-eye of the crowd. There were only a few aggravated moments (you know who you are, guy who looks like a vintage circus strongman).

Dwyer, covered in tattoos on his arms and legs, wore black cut off black denim shorts and a neutral colored t-shirt and played his guitar over his chest. Murray wailed on a Ludwig Supraphonic snare drum, reminiscent of the likes of John Bonham. Hellman kept pace with the two on stage right.

Before long the air became thick with sweat. Dwyer and co. played for a good hour and fifteen minutes before they were finished, only coming back on stage to play a one-song encore.

Jack Name took the stage before Thee Oh Sees. He’s better known as John Webster Johns, the guitarist for psych-folk group White Fence. His four-piece outfit sounded like basement grade psych on a late Saturday night at some friend of a friend’s place you’ve never been to. He has an album coming out in January.

As everyone left the venue, huddling underneath the marquee smoking cigarettes, a rain came down. I saw my friend Charly, and realized I lost my car keys in the pit. Somehow a fitting ending to a lengthy Thee Oh Sees set and the beginning of the weekend.