Review by Chop and photos by Mike Ruff
A bout of ill health has turned this review almost into a trip down memory lane! So fighting fit, and ready to type away frenziedly, let’s see how good my note taking was on the night…
Getting the night under way were tuba drone duo Ore. Yup, you read that correctly as it’s not a phrase you’ll probably come across that often. Memories of Lori Goldston’s cello solo prior to Earth last year came flooding back. Whilst both performances were undoubtedly technically stunning whether they fall into the category of entertainment is an entirely different question. Or perhaps I was missing the point? Plenty I chatted to afterwards enjoyed them immensely. In the right setting, at the right time, this could well work, but tonight as an opening act wasn’t the time or place for me I’m afraid.
Can it really be nearly three years since Om supported SunnO))) at the Asylum? Staggering. Where does time go eh? Impressive as they were that night this performance raised the bar to a ridiculously high level. So high that this set could well feature in my thoughts for the gig of the year list in the not too distant future. Considering that Rammstein, Gojira, and Alcest have all been touring that’s high praise indeed.
Om is one of those bands that keep amazing you when you consider that they’re a three piece. Bass, drums, and keyboards/occasional guitar: that’s it. And they conjure up the sound they do. Rush have managed it for years, Muse continue to astonish, as do Slab in the extreme metal world, to pick but a few. When it’s done with this proficiency it’s nothing short of jaw dropping to behold.
For the hour they were on stage the audience to a man were spellbound. At this point huge praise is due to the sound engineers for delivering an immaculate sound overall and conjuring the finest snare tone – just sublimely crisp – that you could wish for. Essentially Om played with the fluidity of a free form jam whilst sticking to the structure of their chosen setlist, and executed it clinically yet with immense feeling at the same time. Intricate bass lines underpinned it all, aided by not one but two pedal boards, one a massive yet traditional array of effects, the other lifted seemingly from an electric organ. With drums and keyboards or guitar intertwining, the finished sound was nothing short of hypnotic.
Hopefully it won’t be three years until Om next appear. Tonight’s set was something of rare beauty and precision, up there with Alcest’s wondrous set at Bloodstock in August. If you’re a fan of stoner or drone make sure you’re there when they next tour. Utterly unmissable.
Setlist: ‘Sinai’, ‘Meditation Is The Practice Of Death’, ‘Cremation Ghat I’, ‘Cremation Ghat II’, ‘State Of Non-Return’, ‘Gebel Barkal’, ‘Bhima’s Theme’.