Thee Oh Sees Live at the Hi-Tone 

click to enlarge THEE OH SEES
  • Thee Oh Sees

If you've been paying any attention to garage rock for the past 20 years, you've probably heard of John Dwyer. Dwyer's old bands Pink and Brown and the Coachwhips had respectable followings (and still do), but the guitar player from Providence, Rhode Island, reached demi-god status when he formed Thee Oh Sees in San Francisco more than a decade ago. Representing the burgeoning San Francisco garage rock scene, Thee Oh Sees earned the respect of everyone from Henry Rollins to Carson Daly by cranking out multiple albums each year of original psychedelic garage rock for today's generation. While it's a known fact that garage rock bands heavily borrow from their forefathers, very few bands reach what we will call "rip-off status" — a level of success that sees current bands ripping off the current big shots of the genre. Bands like the Black Lips, Vivian Girls, and Ty Segall are all at this level, and you wouldn't have to try very hard to find a prominent Memphis band that would proudly cite Thee Oh Sees' as an influence. Borrowing as much from Kraut Rock as they do the Kinks, Thee Oh Sees sound is one audiences can immediately relate to, even if it's a formula they haven't exactly heard before. For a stretch, the band played with two drummers, and their appearance at the old Hi-Tone involved flaming crash cymbals thanks to some lighter fluid that was strategically placed near the drum set. In 2013, at the height of their power, Dwyer announced the band was going on hiatus, then came back five months later with the excellent album Drop. Shortly after the release, Dywer changed the longtime lineup, opting for a smaller three-piece band instead of the usual four- to five-member band audiences had become accustomed to. This is the first time Thee Oh Sees will play Memphis with the new lineup, but if Thee Oh Sees' history in the Bluff City is any indication, it'll be a performance to remember.

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