Review: Osees

Joe Costello looks back a few weeks to a memorable moment.

Brigid Dawson and The Mothers Network.
The Crossing, Digbeth,
6th November.

A year later than originally planned and more than ten years since their last visit, the hardest-working band in showbusiness finally return to Birmingham.

26 studio albums over two decades under half a dozen different iterations of the current Osees moniker plus as many additional collaborations, singer, guitarist, founder and only constant member John Dwyer is a very busy man. If you need more evidence, eight of the aforementioned albums have appeared in the last eighteen months as the inability to perform live resulted in creative energies being directed into writing and recording. He also runs the Castle Face record label on which the releases appear and for the final cherry on the top, doesn’t even utilise the services of a roadie during live performances.

There is perhaps a gap of fifteen minutes between the conclusion of support act Brigid Dawson and The Mothers Network set of gentle psychedelic folk, herself a former member of the headliners, and a brief blast of Interstellar Overdrive as a soundcheck before the main event starts in earnest with a one-two punch of I Come From the Mountain and The Static God. At the time of writing four weeks after the event, I don’t think I can recall them playing a single slow song through the course of the evening.

On checking my step counter at the end of the show, I was surprised and delighted to learn I had somehow travelled three miles despite remaining in the same square yard, a couple of trips to the bar excepted. A further delight was that The White Swan is open again and it was good to pay it a long overdue visit before and after the show.

Worth noting is the current make up of the band incorporating a pair of drummers, and I think this has been assembled as much for the onstage aesthetic as for the sound and power they generate, lining up from left to right Dwyer, drummer, drummer, bassist with a keyboard player and most recent addition behind and between the drummers, in the sweeper role if you will.

Pleasingly, for me anyway, they will be back in the UK again during the new year as last year’s originally scheduled tour has been split into two legs between this autumn and next spring so an opportunity to enjoy the band again may not be too long in the waiting. Gosees.