Photos By: Angela Ratzlaff
In the midst of fashion shows, private parties and the Hollywood sign’s attractive yet blinding light, leave it to John Dwyer to keep things grounded in the Los Angeles DIY scene.
Thee Oh Sees performed at Non Plus Ultra, an East Hollywood warehouse that has been throwing eclectic events for local and touring bands, Saturday night to a sold out crowd. While a good amount of avid show goers are familiar with the space, there are still a lot of locals who have never heard of or visited the venue before.
A flood of new faces (both excited and scared) lined up between two buildings towards purple string lights. Doors opened at 8 p.m., and the venue quickly filled up with kids making a semi circle around the instruments, which were set up on the floor, as you do.
An opening set from Mind Meld was followed by POW!, a band with close connections to Thee Oh Sees because of a couple releases on Castle Face Records, a label that Dwyer runs. Two synths, a guitarist and a drummer is all this group needs to make energetic, dark, aggressive and overall dance-y music. Some of the robotic guitar licks are actually reminiscent of the early Oh Sees catalog. Words like new wave and post punk come to mind, but fuck that, seriously, because this is just good music that doesn’t need a trend-word label to bring it down.
Thee Oh Sees closed out the show, and, as per usual, they had a pit going from start to finish of their 45-minute set. They played all the hits, “I Come from the Mountain,” “The Dream,” “Minotaur” and more. They even played a never before heard song from a recent 7-inch release.
Everything was right about the performance. It was loud and had the perfect amount of build ups and come downs. The electricity from Dwyer’s guitar alone pierced through ears of kids moshing on the floor and others sitting on either balcony as well as the catwalk runway that attached the two.
Thank you, Thee Oh Sees, POW!, Lucky Cat Club (the show’s organizer and promoter) and Non Plus Ultra for reminding us that DIY music is not about couture sparkly blazers, Taco Bell sponsorships or landing a spot in a 10-pound fashion magazine. It’s about supporting local venues/artists, fucking shit up and connecting with each other, no matter what background you may have, at the same time.
Thee Oh Sees