ONEIDA live at the Bronson Club, Ravenna, Italy (19th Match 2015)
The support slot for this midweek show belongs to People Of The North (POTN), a case of ‘meet the new band, same as the old band’ since the five members are the same as headliners Oneida (pronounced OH – NEED- ER).
POTN play a meandering 45 minute piece which I assume was improvized. There are noodling lulls here and there but things get interesting when surges of keyboard, drum and guitar interchanges build momentum; like Krautrock played with New York attitude.
They are a good prelude to the main show wherein analogue keyboardist and self-appointed spokesman Bobby Matador shuns the nerdy look, returning to the stage without glasses and sporting a scruffy tank top emblazoned with the single word ‘bullshit’.
Oneida are from Brooklyn and don’t look as though they see much daylight. I can picture them spending hours locked in in a basement studio, sending out for beer and burgers when in need of sustenance.
Matador is not a man for false modesty – “You are so fucking lucky to be here tonight” he informs us. The club is not packed, probably less than 100 adventurous souls but neither he nor the rest of the band appear disheartened by the modest turnout. In another semi coherent monologue I hear the phrase “upward art” and it doesn’t seem too vital that this should appeal to the masses.
Oneida differ from their spin-off band in that they play more recognisable songs but the structures of these are also quite loose and they are clearly more comfortable spazzing out as much as possible. They don’t really have any hits from their prolific 18 year career but I did recognize a few tunes off 2009’s Rated O and The Wedding (2007)
Drummer Kid Millions (John Colpitts), with a Ramones hairstyle, is a charismatic focal point of the band’s manic on-stage energy. He pounds the drums with a constant expression of glee like a human incarnation of Animal from The Muppet Show.
Though you would class the band’s sound as ‘experimental’ they seem determined not to stray too far into abstract, arty territory by injecting elements of synthy garage pop or riff based no-wave punk.
The vocals are a bit weedy but the controlled chaos makes for an entertaining night out so a good time was had by all.