OBN IIIs – Live in San Francisco

The OBN IIIs - Live in San Francisco

Now that is an album cover. Wide eyes, mid-snarl, sweat dripping down, grabbing a mic-stand like a set of hips mid-orgasm; what an excellent picture of the raw energy that is a live concert.

The OBN IIIs are a garage rock band out of Austin, Texas who were featured as a part of Castle Face Records’ Live in San Francisco series of concert recordings, curated by label owner John Dwyer.1 Orville Bateman Neeley III3 has a curious vocal style that’s half Iggy, half Presley. It’s powerful as hell, and stands out wonderfully from the raspy yell and drugged-out nasally tenor that seems to be all the rage in garage rock the past few years due to its sheer lucidity. The band is tight, and there are no moments of sloppiness or lost cool – even in the stage banter at the end of “New Innocence.” The band takes a James Murphy approach to self-parody in teasing themselves about their inability to make a good instrumental and semi-spoken words bits on “If The Shit Fits.” The production is excellent, capturing the energy of a live performance without the distracting clipping and abrasion that plagued the Icky Boyfriends entry.

Garage rock is based less on musicianship and more on attitude, which is probably why the genre is so well-suited to the live medium rather than studio recordings.3 Of the Live in San Francisco releases, The OBN IIIs’ is one of the best.

1. Off the Grid – (3:35) – ★★★★☆
2. Running on Fumes – (3:01) – ★★★☆☆
3. So What if We Die – (2:47) – ★★★★☆
4. New Innocence – (2:43) – ★★★★☆
5. Damned to Obscurity – (2:43) – ★★★★☆
6. Uncle Powderbag – (2:56) – ★★★☆☆
7. If the Shit Fits – (5:19) – ★★★★★
8. No Time for the Blues – (3:43) – ★★★★☆

Overall: ★★★★☆

1… of Thee Oh Sees, Coachwhips, Damaged Bugs, and several other bands.
2Dude needs a law degree with a name like that.
3Hell, just look at the MC5.

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