Thee Oh Sees | Pitchfork Music Festival | July 15, 2012
Photo: Erica Gannett
Never judge a lo-fi band by its records. Actually, feel free to judge them. The aesthetic is abhorrent. But more often than not, these bands tend to be much more interesting, more fun and more talented than their recordings would let on. Like last year's No Age, Thee Oh Sees revealed themselves to be a perfectly good band hidden behind unnecessary studio artifice. And what a pleasant surprise that was.
The Cali quartet's mid-afternoon set brought some much-needed balls-out rock to the Blue Stage, with lead singer/guitarist John Dwyer fellating the mic, spitting onstage, and generally imitating Angus Young to surprising avail. Their bass player seemed to be having more fun than anyone so far this weekend, aside from maybe the A$AP Mob.
Good time rock & roll is hard to come by, and despite the band's somewhat derivative sound, I'm always impressed when musicians have the guts and the brains to keep the "rock" in alternative rock. Most bands tend to stray from the roots of the genre, swapping the rhythm and the energy for the effects alone. I think a lot of rock players look at bands like Sonic Youth and want to chase that innovation, to get the same kind of recognition for simply being weirdos, but they forget to learn how to play and write songs before building the pedalboard. Like a punkier Screaming Females (read: less talented, way more fun to watch), Thee Oh Sees recognize that kickass tunes come first. The noise is just gravy. Delicious.