Oneida at T.T. the Bear's Place, March 1, 2008
Since forming in the late ’90s, Oneida have been one of the most compelling and adventurous bands to emerge out of Brooklyn — no mean feat, given the crowded field. Over the course of nine albums, they’ve trafficked in everything from angular funk to wistful folk, avant-synth rock to eccentric psych. Yet what this group — drummer/vocalist Kid Millions, organist/vocalist Fat Bobby, and guitarists Hanoi Jane and Double Rainbow — are best known for is explosive live shows that combine high volume with relentless rhythms.
It was surprising, then, how rarely Oneida ignited Saturday at T.T.’s. True, they had serious energy to burn. From the outset, they unleashed torrents of earsplitting feedback and complex repetitive rhythms, with the stunning Kid Millions setting a breakneck yet timepiece-precise pace. All too often, however, details were lost in the muddy mix, and the dense, churning rhythms became a monolithic wall of sound. For a band who draw from such a bewildering array of influences, the set was curiously uniform and undifferentiated. There were odd sparks like the psychedelic, quasi-krautrock crowd pleaser “Lavender” (from their 2005 Jagjaguwar album The Wedding), with its manic, swirling organ lines. But only when the band tore into the garage funk scorcher “Up with People,” the high point from their most recent full-length, Happy New Year (Jagjaguwar), did you get a sense of what Oneida are capable of. And that only underscored how much you were missing.
: Live Reviews
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