The Rentals + Ozma

Wow.  It’s going to be hard to come up with the proper words.  Words that will do these guys justice, words that will properly describe the emotion, passion, and energy of these two bands are not easily formed.

I was a teenager when I first heard The Rentals, shortly after their first album, Return of the Rentals.  Stacks of vintage synths, Orange Amplifiers, and 5, 6, or 7 musicians colliding in danceable and incredible sonic goodness.  Eventually, you can pull your nose out of liner notes and go to a show.

For me, it was around 10 years before this dream could come to fruition.  If the Rentals were ever around the Southeast (it was really rare) it just didn’t work out for me.  When the news surfaced that Matt Sharp had put together a group to do some Rentals songs, I was stoked, but cautious with my expectations.

This group blew me away.  Matt’s stage presence (you may remember seeing him in the early days of Weezer) is terrific.  There’s a world he enters when he steps on the stage that really renews my hope in show business.  Not just Matt; Laura Chipman, Ben Pringle, Sara Radle, Dan Joeright, and Rachel Haden can’t be matched for stage presence, talent, and the ability to follow carefully choreographed mid-song instrument switches.  Rachel played all 7 keyboards at one time or another.  She picked up the Bass several times, acoustic guitar, the small mic’ed set of bells on occasion; sang beautifully. Laura played the Violin, 3 or 4 of the keyboards, and sang in perfect harmony with Matt and Rachel.  Sara too: all over the keys, singing beautifully.  Dan, the drummer, appropriately stayed in royal command of the rhythm.  As a drummer, I can appreciate the feat of being in the rhythm section with three different bassists in one evening.  Ben: WOW.  Ben blew us all the way.  He started in the ‘synth cave’ played bass, guitar, trombone, lap steel, and didn’t miss a beat on any of those.  He had energy that, like Matt’s, makes me want to present a video of this show to other people who grace stages all over the world.

They played old Rentals songs, an old Weezer B-Side, and even Lou Reed’s Take a Walk on the Wild Side.  The news (from the end of the show) is that Matt reported a forthcoming album.  Sweet.

Ozma was terrific too.  After a two year hiatus, they decided to come back and give it another shot. They’re really on top of their game. Their set was tight, and they played a lot of good ol’ songs.  Since I’ve seen Ozma twice before, I won’t be able to ramble like an idiot (see above) about them.  That shouldn’t diminish their show though – it was unbelievable.  They weren’t too clear about their plans for after this tour is over.  I tried to pry but didn’t get any solid answer about forthcoming albums, but I suspect that we’ll see more of Ozma.

Great time.  Great show.  I’m easy to excite, but these guys didn’t leave anything to chance.