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ConcertsOzric Tentacles-Live at the Bowery Ballroom in NYC, 3/19/2005

Posted on Thursday, March 31 2005 @ 06:51:22 CST by Pete Pardo
Progressive Rock Ozric Tentacles made a return to New York City to play the comfortable venue called the Bowery Ballroom, and Sea of Tranquility's Ken Pierce was in attendance for this display of pure psychedelic progressive rock and has a few thoughts on the show. For those that have never been to the Bowery Ballroom in NYC, you might enjoy the place, for not only is there a good PA system but the setting for the venue is quite nice. Downstairs is the bar and lounge while upstairs (on ground level) is where the stage is. There is also an upstairs balcony where VIP and special guests might mingle. The room seems to hold about 500 people which is great for getting a closer vantage point to the Artist you are there to see. It holds true to the intimate gig.

Opening up that night for The Ozrics was a very interesting jam band known as Lotus. They were very good and performed their set of jazzy oriented music to the very visible joy to the audience. Everyone in the group seemed to be very talented at the instruments they played and there was a lot of interesting things going on in their music. The entire front stage viewers were dancing about and reminded me of what one sees at a Phish or Dead show. Of the players I was most fascinated by the percussionist, as he had so many different items in his setup that he was not only musically cool, but really fun to watch. It was my goal to talk to them afterwards but the chance was just not there as they were tied up with other people after their set.

After a reasonable breakdown time, Ozric Tentacles came to the stage. This is an interesting outfit to say the least. The group has been around for over 20 years and as reference showed have just released their 25th album. Friends who know my musical preferences warned me that I would be incredibly bored at the show however they could not have been more wrong. In the concert setting, the Ozrics proved to be a lot heavier than even I expected them to be. The current lineup is based upon core member Ed Wynne; and he is the dude to watch. He rips on the guitar and also plays synths and triggers rhythms that he plays along with during the show. My vantage point was directly akin to his on the stage so this made me enjoy it all the more. The only issue about the show was the fact that there was some serious technical stuff brewing with his guitar rig. The crew was back and forth a lot trying to rectify this. Ed played it off in a charming manner, making some comments I could not discern since I was below the monitors. When I commented to a fan next to me that it did not seem all that drastic, I was told that where certain synths were supposed to be there was a lot more guitars. I am sure Ed was not enjoying this, but gigging is like fishing sometimes as you don't know what you will end up with. If the sound goes out you can't blame the guy you just have to fix it as fast as you can.

Joining Ed on the other synthesizer setup is Brandy Wynne and she was a jolt of energy the entire night. She was enjoying herself so much and this is great when the band gets a kick out of the show. I prefer this to bands that merely stay there and make me feel as though I am watching a picture. The audience can feel this, I will tell you that much. On drums was Metro who I thought was a killer player. He did not miss a trick through the whole performance, and it was long. On flute they have John Egan and his playing added an almost Jethro Tull feel to it. During the show he employed various types of the instrument to achieve the proper affect needed. Justin Abene was holding it all together on the bass. Truly a great lineup. The effects were mostly a light and slideshow that went on all thru the set. Viewing that and the music the best way to describe it to a newcomer would be to say it is almost like a harder-edged vein of Syd Barrett era Pink Floyd (that you combined with assorted trance/danceable synth beats). The slideshow stuff had numerous extra terrestrial images in them making me feel this is a subject the band focuses on. At one point my photographer coined a key phrase to sum up the night, he turned to me after getting some killer shots and smiled as he said "Set Your Controls For The Heart Of The Bowery"..I couldn't agree more, and I was glad we went.

Set List
1. Intro
2. Jurassic
3. O-I
4. Dis Dots
5. Synth Jam
6. Tah Kut
7. White Rhino Tea
8. Coiley
9. Pyramidian
10. Sunscape
11. Plasmoid
12. Oakum
13. Kick Much
14. Tidal Convergence
15. Bolshem - encore
16. Sploosh! - encore

Ken Pierce

Photos courtesy of Peter M. Parrella

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