OM Trio :: 09.30.04 :: GoodFoot Lounge :: Portland, OR

OM Trio create music from the corners of a triangle, weaving toward the center in a web that culminates with a perfectly balanced musical spider. There's less improvisation than a lot of jam bands. They seem to plan and design their plunges into the night sky metal abyss, gentle river temperature toe testers and pure power. This music is not for the weak (though as the song title from the second set suggests, there may be an allure for "Phobo Phobes," those afraid of fear).

They're thick with new material, a lot of which was played this evening. Like every previous show I'd seen, they began by gently but clearly, announcing there was plenty of space to dance--prodding the audience away from their seats and into the music. A show is what you make of it; the band doesn't do it alone. They allowed no room for any misconception that they may be a very loud jukebox by encouraging everyone to participate in the evening's flavor. Their tactics sunk in deeply and by the second set I could no longer watch them at all. The music completely consumed me like a slow drug, I could only witness as a spectator observing the ridiculous span, flails, and curves my body painted along the no longer so roomy dance floor.

I tried to watch the music and the musicians, but the dancing took me. It was no longer Brian Felix massaging sound from the keys. His range imitated record-scratching DJ mixes, bubblers, and submarine sonar. It wasn't Ilya Stemkovsky pounding the drums hard and solid throughout. Nor was it Pete Novmebre manipulating the strings of his bass with vigor and chuckles in the same breath, jumping up and down as if attempting to break the seal of the ocean without arms or fins, then swaying on waves of the band's sound. It was my arms pulling my shoulders, pulling my hips, drawing my feet around the room, building my way out of a giant Rubik's Cube. I was moving blocks, carving my personal space inside a snowball with gentle handprints against the walls of the musical bubble falling around me.

I stopped looking and let the music materialize through my limbs, an interesting experiment. My arms punched firmly at the space around me, staunch and determined. The drums drove my entire body consistently, the bass moved my mid-section and the keys bid on my arms. Dancing was only interrupted by sporadic giggles (From me? Who knows, I handed myself over to the music a while ago) and hoots and hollers for the source that was kind enough to make my flesh move in these intriguing ways.

They mixed heavy rock interludes with spacey experimental jazz, introducing the two then letting them loose to play nicely, taking turns, mingling and sometimes pushing one another on the tire swing. Eerie sounds coated the room like chunky peanut butter--some substance spread gently under their musical knife. During one song a woman's voice mingled amongst the musical collage yet it remained three young men on stage. Is she curled and nestled in the bass drum stretching her seductive voice like a yawning cat prodded to chant uncanny phrases? It wouldn't have surprised me to find that her soundbites were stored in a musical hookah to be released strategically in puffs of smoke invisibly floating through the room asking, "Who? 'R'? 'U'?"

Funny you asked. I was the one dancing across the carpet barefoot, imagining dandelion seeds playing tag on a gentle sunset breeze. The breeze lifted and I quickly found my head bashing against an invisible wall while my arms grabbed and tossed smidgens of music across the room to splatter on unsuspecting souls and cocktails. I tasted a few of these musical samples I'd been launching through the GoodFoot Lounge--it tasted like lemon candy, oyster shooters, and a red sunset.

Reanna Feinberg
JamBase | Portland
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[Published on: 10/25/04]

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