Longtime followers of lo-fi strains of garage, psych, and rock can pretty much all agree on this fact: Everything John Dwyer touches turns to gold. The San Francisco-based thirtysomething has, over a career spanning some 15 years, racked up a fittingly long list of past critically acclaimed acts. The earliest of these, Pink and Brown, was a two-piece, spazzy outfit that, in its unpredictable live shows and even more unpredictable, abrasive sounds, often echoed buddies Lightning Bolt.
Over the years, Dwyer’s projects perhaps got more melodic, but never anywhere near what might be considered safely hip. Probably the closest he came to mainstream-ish recognition was in the early ’00s with the Coachwhips, which scored glowing write-ups in some bigger music publications. The group’s messy brand of garage would have almost dovetailed with that genre’s revival of the era — if only anyone had been able to understand what Dwyer was singing.
In ensuing years, Dwyer helmed a number of other acts, most notably, perhaps, the Hospitals, but somehow still found time to record a library of solo material that seemed to exponentially grow. These appeared under a number of vaguely related names, from the OCS to Orange County Sound, to, eventually, the Ohsees. Rather than a band proper, this was just a tag for whatever Dwyer wanted to do, whenever.
The “whatever” part eventually gelled into a sound that was jangly, a little grungy, and usually joyful. The “whenever” part turned out to be pretty much always, with record after record appearing as the project eventually morphed into a proper band, now known as the Oh Sees. As a live act, they perform material from any of the 13 full-lengths — oh, and seven EPs, nine seven-inches, and any number of other random songs — Dwyer has spewed out since about 2003.
While some of the songs can wander into meandering, relatively thoughtful terrain, live, the group prefers to keep things amped up and electrified. Thee Oh Sees proved a sleeper hit at last year’s land-bound Bruise Cruise kickoff show in Miami, where Dwyer and his various outfits are little known. Beer bottles flew in a sea of spittle and a cloud of tambourine hits, and we fully expect a repeat performance when they return to this year’s pre-Bruise-Cruise festivities at the Stage.
Where: The Stage (170 N.E. 38th St., Miami)
When: 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 9
Contact: Visit bruisecruisefestival.com