The Crescent is my favorite spot to see shows these days here in Phoenix. It is not a huge room, but the sound is always really superb. A small, but warm space to catch a show. I was thrilled to hear that Om would be playing there this month.
Om have the ability to capture a unique mood in their albums. Heavy, rhythmic, spiritual and hypnotic music that you can completely loose yourself in - these qualities are only enhanced seeing the band in a live setting.
On setting up at The Crescent, Om were ready to perform in short order. The lights went down and, once the crowd had settled, atmospheric synths and stunning vocals from Robert Lowe rose up and sent chills through the entire room. His contribution, particularly the way he managed to expand textures, was beautiful to watch. He consistently complimented the other band members and added deep shades of emotion to the music. It was not long before Bassist Al Cisneros and Drummer Emil Amos came in. Slowly at first, but hypnotic and rhythmically they picked up steam, before really hitting their groove.
A real stand out for me was 'State of Non-Return'. It seemed to be even more distorted and manipulated when live. It certainly got an energy moving around in the crowd when they did. Some older songs creeped into the set as well. Cisneros abruptly announced 'Giza Part 1' and they were off. This one went to outer space. The sounds became huge and bubbled over. Large, throbbing bass parts seemingly transformed the room into a marble cathedral, leaving it shaking helplessly.
Cisneros and Amos have signature sounds and both were displayed during the show. Amos' drum kit might press charges against him one day because he hits the shit out of them! While he plays extremely hard, he is still a perfectly fluid performer, and can be subtle when he needs to. Moreover, he is always in control, no matter how fast he seems to play. As for Cisneros, he fogged the whole place out the first time he rattled the Rickenbacker. It continued through the entirety of the performance. He did not say much, as he was seemingly engulfed in the sounds he and his band were creating.
Some musicians have an almost innate capability that allows them to raise their music to a transcendent level. This is very much true of the members of Om. Collectively and separately, they have been a part of highly creative and seminal music. They were humble, appreciative and energetic with their performance - not much more you can ask for. Don't miss Om live if you get the chance as they are spectacular.