One of life’s greatest blessings can be the element of surprise. Last Thursday, April 5th I attended the Ozric Tentacles show at the historic BB King’s Blues Bar, solely due to the emphatic word of mouth from friends I respect and who demanded I do so. After consecutive hours on my feet, which often felt as if they would never hit the ground, I had to console myself each time a bathroom break was a necessity. A unique, effective, euphoric and mesmerizing band had been discovered and I was pleasantly surprised to uncover a delightfully forceful style of music that I was previously not privy to. Although it may arguably be mundane to pontificate about the band’s name, it certainly can’t be ignored. Like meeting a hot girl from a foreign land, when one is always compelled to inquire, “Where are you from with that accent?” Similarly, the moniker Ozric Tentacles is the first thing one associates with this musical juggernaut, and it accurately portrays an outfit exuding an endless instrumental jam session wrought with a signature sound that evokes a myriad of emotions due to its ‘we are discovering new worlds on stage’ led adventure. In fact, the origin of the band’s name harkens back to their humble beginnings around 1983, when its members were debating possible names for an imaginary cereal brand.An experienced outfit like The Tentacles naturally has had a revolving door of band mates, with only one original member, lead guitarist Ed Wynne, remaining in its ranks. Joining Ed was his wife Brandi on bass, and son Silas on keyboards. Only a quartet, this psychedelic experience packs such punch and power that one could think the number of musicians comprising Earth, Wind & Fire adorned the stage. A jam band lifer and music aficionado with limited exposure to electronic music, Tentacles only furthered my admiration for the genre and further opened my mind to see other opportunities to catch more gigs that share it’s unique qualities.
With precision, the band knew what the relatively young crowd packing the classy BB King’s dance floor and surrounding dinner tables eagerly arrived to experience. Each song added more elements of intense drama, with a plethora of different keyboard sounds accentuated by Brandi’s confidence on the bass and sporadic orgasmic guitar fillers from Ed, when one most needed to get off with a crescendo of surreal monumental proportions. Brandi, a beautiful woman taking center stage, who can also own the bass with such authority is rare and thus very appealing. The Tentacles took the audience on an acid trip to a foreign land, without the necessity of drugs – a ‘choose your own adventure’ filled with twists and turns amidst a mist that filled the senses.
Although the music was intentionally frantic at times while mixing trance, electronic beats, and uptempo jam sessions that utilize such unique chord structures and time signature, the sound ends up being pleasantly odd. With the mesmerizing colored lights flickered on the stage, a tractor beam pulled one’s vision into the bizarre and whacked images on the projection screens which bookended each wall to the side of the stage. The variety within the Tentacles music further demonstrated their adept skill at covering different styles while explicitly attacking the material in a way that left anyone in attendance spent.
It’s been well documented that many American voters choose the President one would prefer to have a beer with. Well, I’d like to hang out with Ozric Tentacles to discuss cereal anytime. Should they decide to grab their instruments and jam while we shared, that might aid to enhance my imagination. Their music promotes the belief within that one can do anything.