I’ve just seen one of the best bands to ever come out of the area and their name is Orphan Bloom. Remember that name, you’re going to hear it again.
What if you took Mars Volta, fronted them with (a young) Robert Plant and put, I dunno, frickin’ Jaco Patorious on bass and Neil Peart on drums? God these guys are good and I don’t know that I’ve ever felt so stunned after a performance by a local band.
Though they are loaded with chops, the band is not pretentious. They keep their songs to a manageable length and the showboating to a minimum. They looked so comfortable onstage; as if they had a long history behind them already (The band tells me they’ve been touring for about a year). They possess a professionalism and sophistication that is surely going to take them far.
Lead vocalist/guitarist Alex Kress has the charisma to front this powerhouse with an immediately likeable demeanor. Lead guitarist Saigopal Nelaturi is a blazing player, capable of complex solo flights. Together they weave a tapestry of guitars that rivals Mars Volta but without the excess. The rhythm section is unstoppable. Nathan Wiswall has a degree in jazz performance and is quite possibly the best bassist I’ve seen locally. Wiswall also does the band’s artwork and it’s gorgeous. At the end of the set, the band left drummer Travis Drumm to do a solo and it was absolutely amazing. His single-handed rolls and tom precision had me shaking my head. He also incorporated a hand drum into his kit. The band returned to finish off the song, then were hailed to do an encore. They played a Melvins tune.
I’m still listenting through the new album and will be posting a review here very shortly. Be sure to get out there and get behind these guys. Bands like this come along about once in a lifetime.
I’m still trying to add this band up. One time I was playing a King Crimson album and my son said, “Dad, that music sounds messy.” I was reminded of that while listening to Kitty Rhombus. I’d describe their music as punk rock meets post-rock meets an enraged Zappa covering King Crimson. I sense there is musical genius in frontman Ian Stenlund and it’s a maniacal expression of that that makes KR tick. Lead guitarist Lee Chato played as fast as humanly possible and had fun with his baby-headed theramin. The bassist, who calls himself the Wizard, looks like a wizard and sings like a leprechaun. The drummer, Matt Styrwoll, admirably handled some pretty complex time shifts. Stenlund broke two strings in the same song (who breaks D-strings and A-strings?). Orphan Bloom’s Saigopal Nelaturi, being the nice guy that he is, loaned Stenlund his guitar to finish their set, which Stenlund (Who wears red shorts, a green t-shirt,black socks and boots to a gig?) proceeded to abuse by jumping off the stage, rolling around on the floor, laying back on the stage and rolling around some more. Not cool. Noise rock for people on the fringes.
It’s been a while since I’ve seen Helliphant and, oh man, I remember what I’m missing now. I just love a band that rocks so hard and yet makes it so amuzing. Singer Joe Price brings the comic relief, tearing up the Bible during “(This is Fucking) Bullshit.” It just doesn’t get any better than that! The band is monstrous and Helliphant is a fitting handle. I love watching the rhythm section of Darwin Sampson and Chad Ovshak. Ovshak hits the drums with such fecocity. Tim Thompson’s keys add color to the band’s riff-heavy rock while Jeremy Roseland remains one of Madison’s best guitar soloists. Still one of Madison’s most loveable bands and leading contender for the very definition of the “Madison sound.”