Monday, January 31, 2011

OM at ZDB, Lisboa / Jan 30th 2011

Getting used to luxury is a bitch, baloney sandwiches don't taste so great afterwards. Last time I had seen OM had been at doom's equivalent to the fucking Ritz, Roadburn Festival's main stage at the 013, and the sound was so crystal-clear and potent then that the bass thumped my chest and Al Cisnero's trance-inducing grooves thumped my soul. Or something metaphorically equivalent to AWESOME of that sort. Yesterday, at the crowded ZDB, it wasn't, understandably, quite the same. Stuff rattled when the frequencies went lower, Emil Amos' powerhouse drumming tends to drown out the rest a slight bit more than it should and not even the "intimate setting" chestnut suits it, because at Roadburn you feel intimate with 3.000 other people effortlessly at every gig. It's a small and old room more suited to bands less dependent on a good sound, especially on a good low end sound, even if it did get more balanced as the show went on, especially as the vocals got a bit louder.

Still, and this is where the band themselves and their inherent talent come in, it was great all the same. You can't help it, can you? Soon as that mantra verse of 'Rays Of The Sun / To The Shrinebuilder' kicks in (it was the second song last night right after 'Meditation Is The Practice Of Death' off the latest album), we're all like charmed snakes twisting our way out of the basket, who cares if the sound isn't perfect. Tiny mistake or two aside (let's call it his personal interpretation of the song), Emil really is a great drummer, and on such a percussive song he truly shines. Rob Lowe came along for the ride as well, and his various noises, percussion and creepy vocals add a much welcome layer of texture to the ritual. Because that's what it is, isn't it? If any doubts remained, Cisneros and fellow spiritual vessels dissipated them with both Cremation Ghats, the towering legend of 'At Giza' and the post-encore hypnosis of 'Bhima's Theme'.

Two important lessons from last night as well: first, all Al said to the audience was a heartfelt "thank you!" at the end, accompanied by a wave of his bass. That's all we need, okay, other bands? We know your record is for sale at the merch table, we know you've come from wherever it was that you did, and we know which album that next song is from. And you're not Jerry Seinfeld and we didn't come here for fucking stand-up comedy either. So learn something from Al. Secondly, although local musician Gabriel Ferrandini's opening freejazzy drum improv session went straight over the heads of most of the present, especially by those more inclined to mock an artist they paid to watch (make up your minds, people), it just further reinforced what I suddenly realized during Daniel Higgs' stellar performance before Neurosis last month in London - if you really need an opening act, make it a surprising and different one. The last thing I want to see before a cool black metal band is a slightly less cool black metal band I've seen tons of times already, the last thing I want to see tacked to a doom gig is a bit more of a slightly less cool doom gig. Okay?

Now go listen to all those OM albums and sway, you know you want to.

Meditation Is The Practice Of Death
Rays Of The Sun / To The Shrinebuilder
Cremation Ghat I
Cremation Ghat II
At Giza
Bhima's Theme

(videos by Luana Magalhães)


  1. Okay, crummy is a bit strong, you're right. Speed-writing overreaction. Charmingly aged, maybe? :)

    Honestly though, I didn't mean for the text to come across as a jab to ZDB, it really isn't, and you know I've seen awesome shows there. Just some are more appropriate than others for the features of the room, 'sall.

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  3. I know you do, mate, I know you do. Bukkake was awesome there, as was Fucked Up, Barn Owl, Nadja or the more left-field stuff like Matteah Baim, Scout Niblett, Nina Nastasia or Josephine Foster, to mention just a few of the ones I remember attending.

    Last night was still good, and while it would surely have worked better in a place like where those two shows you mentioned were, I'd rather have it at ZDB than nowhere at all! :)

    E agora em português, que já chega disto da internacionalização, gostei bastante do Gabriel, que confesso não conhecia de lado nenhum, e acho que resultou maravilhosamente em conjunção com OM como disse ali no texto do post. Fiquei com curiosidade de ouvir os projectos onde ele está inserido.

  4. O Gabriel é enorme. Tem apenas 23 anos e já surpreende com um número impressionante de projectos. Para além dos óbvios Red Trio e Quarteto de Rodrigo Amado, vale a pena estar atento aos duos com o Pedro Sousa, David Maranha e Pedro Gomes.

    E por falar em Higgs, o Daniel deu um epifania em Novembro último

  5. José,

    Apaguei, sem querer, o meu segundo comentário :/