When I was in elementary school, I knew this kid who was so hyper active that he'd lose his mind in knuckle gnawing fits of mania (those were the days before Flinstone's Chewable Ritalin). I was reminded of him when I checked out Ozric Tentacles' second show of their two night Wetlands run. I've come to love the Wetlands for their diverse approach to booking acts; you have your steady acts like RANA and ulu but on different nights you can also find bands that bring everything from light folk to thrash metal, hip hop and the more common funk, blues and jazz influences we find on the jam scene, blended nicely with the inbetween DJ which is a sampler that knows no genre boundaries. After the show, I was happily schooled by keyboardist/synthesizer mixologist Seaweed that Ozric Tentacles was part of a once thriving European jam scene which has undergone some changes since the band was started by the guitarist, Ed, seventeen years ago. While they've been through some lineup changes of their own, Ozric definitely brings a cohesive sound of multiple styles that allows each musician to explore their own area, mix it up with one of their mates across the stage and run back out again without losing an unbelievable degree of power.

To start, the synthesizer and keys work are the obvious difference between what we're accustomed to seeing in the U.S. I've heard it described as electronic trance which is definitely applicable and deeply rooted in the techo-chemical grooves that have been pouring out of England for some time. Seaweed is so into it, leaving out the stool that most of his contemporaries surrounded by that much equipment would employ, carefully leaning over each dial, button, and key to taste the sounds of his many boiling pots with genuine expressions of joy. On the other side of the stage, the guitar work speaks of thrashing, screeching metal and ripping rock but carries the flavor of the frustrated British underclass much the same as the Sex Pistols did not so long ago. Ed's hands explode all over the frets, prone to more muscular jams which makes it understandable that Steve Vai is currently on his stereo at home. On the back end of their setup, bassist Zia plays some severe grooves that lack any gouging quality but maintain a strength that plays nicely with Rad's mix of hard core metal, hip hop and eastern beats on the drum kit. Another interesting aspect of the scene over there that I learned, was that many bands have completely cut out the drummer, instead using synthesized beats to carry the music through. Seaweed told me that Rad's inclusion makes Ozric Tentacles a bit of a rarity over there these days but I wouldn't have them be any other way. And then there's Jon who uses his pied piper's bag of flutes to express himself very intelligently. In the middle of their club and metal, ramming and whirling at a pace almost beyond the neck's ability to hold on my wildly flagellating head, Jon finds his way through spacy whirtlings and beautiful melodies that both mix well with Seaweed's stews and round out the band's sound, providing a bit of the mellow that exists on the opposite end of the line from what some of the other players were doing for most of the show.

Ozric Tentacles is beyond a class act, but you'd never hear that out of their mouths. While tired out from the exertion, they were a mix of excitement and subtle joviality after the show was done, Ed wandering about with the widest smile I've seen in a while, very satisfied with how his teenage child has grown. He came out for the second set with a bit of the impish grin, jokingly apologizing for the rawness of the first set before he began Saucers on his acoustic which eventually led into Xingu and another round of intense offerings, closing out with The Throbbe as their encore whose title more than suffices in describing what it's all about. In the middle of it all, there was a bit of a technical difficulty involving a cracklin' speaker which inspired a mock look of horror on Jon's face and the band just played on, not missing a beat or bothering to look up much from what they were doing, amping on their focus to keep the entire audience rocking.

If Monty Python, Who's Line is it Anyway, and the Queen Elizabeth wave weren't enough, hanging out with these guys made me want to be British. There's not a hint of affected behavior in any one of them or the host of friendlies that have come to know the band from repeat visits which all created an enjoyable vibe that helped everyone come down from the show. Their interest in music is deep and it's easy to catch on to their spiritual nature which I'm sure is one of the many glues that keep them so tight. Next for Ozric Tentacles is a swing down south to Nashville, Atlanta, Charlotte, and Athens before zig zagging the Midwest and Colorado. They'll be back my way (Hartford, 11/16) at the end of their U.S. tour where I'm sure to be and I hope that some of you can find the time to sit in with them because they'd love to play here more and music fans everywhere will undoubtably dig on what they have to offer.

Howie Greenberg
JamBase NYC Correspondent


The Ozric Tentacles hail from England and have been making music together for close to 20 years. They are a very intriguing band that combines many different things to form their psychedelic trance rock sound. Musically they are all over the map in their creation of danceable groovy trance jams. The Ozrics have been a very important band in Europe and created a large following for themselves for many years. They continue to make dynamic and challenging music that will certainly keep you interested all night long. They donít make it over to the US very often so itís a rare opportunity to see them do it live.

Loop Dreams are a young four-piece band from Boston, MA. Their music is an instrumental mix of trance, jungle and other electronic sounds. The term used to describe their sound is Supersonic Rocktronica. Loop Dreams will entice you with their improvised electronic jams. The band uses many different effects and toys to create a deep sound full of craziness. At times it will be hard to figure out where sounds on the stage are coming from. They are making the music of the future happen today.

The Ozric Tentacles and Loop Dreams will be teaming up this weekend at the Wetlands Preserve in New York City on Friday & Saturday night.

-Johnny Beachbeach@jambase.com
JamBase New York Correspondant

Man, oh man, oh man oh man. I cannot put into words what the experience was like last night. It was the second time I saw 'em (first was last year in Atlanta), so it's not like I didn't know what we were in for. But, holy cats, I felt like I had just stood in the small space between two trains passing each other at full speed. For about 2 hours. I knew it would be an incredible show when I went down to the venue before just to catch a look and possibly say hello. No such luck; they had sound-checked and gone to dinner by the time I got there. But the guy watching the back door, who hadn't ever heard of Ozrics let alone heard the music, was raving about the sound check. Aparently, this guy was floored. "Man, I can't wait to actually see the show!" he giggled, teetering on a bar stool outside the back door. Jeeze-oh-peter, what can I say? My girlfriend Patty may have stated it best afterwards when she looked down, shook her head and said "Man, that was a MEAN show!" The band seemed more relaxed than I remembered at the previous show. They were incredibly tight (of course) but I was surprised by how loose they were with the music in terms of just cutting loose and wailing. I guess this didn't strike me so much last year. And they were having a _lot_ of fun playing. I think the crowd was very responsive and enthusiastic, which it seems encouraged a wicked performance. I can't remember the whole set list... not necessarily in order: Vita Voom (I think), Xingu, Chinatype, Pixel Dream (what a god@#$% tune!!!), Saucers, (wow... it was more than I could have imagined), Eternal Wheel, Vibuthi, Sploosh! (this tune kicked my ass) and I can't remember what others. They had written Sunscape on their setlist for the encore, but decided to play White Rhino Tea and Throbbe instead. Whew... I mean, jeeze, what can I say to describe it?

The club they played was relatively small. Narrow, but pretty deep. The place was packed once Ozrics started. (Incidentally, Star People impressed me much more than they did last year... but then again, last year I spent most of the set trying to figure out what the hell was going on.) Most everyone was in a Halloween costume, and this amused the band; Ed, John and Seaweed made comments about how strangely people dress in Nashville. In all, though, it was great to see so many people support the band and appreciate the music. I was really surprised by how many people were there and the enthusiasm expressed for the band. Doesn't it feel strange how you can feel like you are one of a few people that knows of Ozrics (especially in NashVegas), and then you go to the show and it's packed? I kinda wish I'd gone to Atlanta for tonight. Oh well, maybe I'll catch a West Coast show later on. :)

For the information of those seeing upcoming shows: They are out of "The Hidden Step". The guy at the table (I forget his name) said they didn't bring nearly enough with them, obviously. So if you're counting on getting the CD from the show, like I was, you're outta luck. Jon added "Good luck finding it." It seems that the best bet is to order from the web site. One last thing: How much has admission been for the other shows? Last night, it was $7!!!! $7!!!!! A small venue, incredible band, $7!!!! Is this simply criminal, or what? I was ready to pay $20! still coming down,

-Jonathan Ewald