OM Trio | 04.09.04 | Martyrs' | Chicago, IL

Brian Felix by Susan J. Weiand
New Jersey's OM Trio were joined in Chicago on Friday April 9 by special guest Jake Cinniger of Umphrey's McGee for a dynamic evening of heavy rock beats. OM Trio has been touring as a supporting act for Umphrey's McGee's spring tour while also maintaining their own schedule of solo appearances throughout the country. It's clear that these two bands deeply respect each another's work and compliment one another well in their serious dedication to musicianship, nod to humor, and explorations into heavy metal and classic rock. Recent onstage collaborations with Cinniger, as well as Umphrey's second guitarist Brendan Bayliss, have exposed new listeners to OM Trio's hard-hitting combination of keys, drums, and bass.

Dubbed "Elevator Music for Head Bangers," the very irony of the OM Trio is the absence of guitar. Brian Felix's jazz and techno-influenced organ grooves add deep texture and color to leads and melodies that compliment the aggressive rhythms of drummer Ilya Stemkovsky, and thumping bass lines of Pete Novembre. The band's music has evolved to explore the boundaries of trance, and dabbles heavily in techno-oriented atmospherics. The result is a sound that transcends genres and has gained impressive critical praise for their physical live performances and fifth studio release, GlobalPositioningRecord, in Modern Drummer, Jazztimes, and the Washington Post.

Friday's show highlighted a warm interplay between musicians and a kinetic approach to jazz, funk, and fusion. Cinniger's prodigious fretwork complimented Trio originals like the spacey "Bulbous" and funk-heavy "Hedd," as well as an outstanding take on Umphrey's own "Prowler." The group also treated the crowd to a head-banging, driving cover of Guns n' Roses' "Paradise City" reminiscent of OM Trio's July 4, 2002 Showcase set at the High Sierra Music Festival which set that crowd abuzz. The show closed with a gorgeous nod to Journey, with Felix's sensitive keys opening a hard rocking cover of "Faithfully" that capped off a dynamic evening of music.

OM Trio moves on to rock the East Coast with dates throughout the month of April. For those not able to check them out, the band's website at offers three tasty downloads of recent live shows in Colorado for only $3.99 apiece, a couple featuring Cinniger's talents on guitar. A real deal for fans of electric rock and driving beats.

Rachel Seeger
JamBase | Chicago
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[Published on: 4/13/04]

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