Scene & Heard
Maybe it’s because Sacramento was White Zombie and Metallica’s No. 1 BDS market (that’s radio play) that shows like Oma Yang’s recent Monday night gig at the Capitol Garage suffered from low turnout. Or perhaps it was just those indie kids showing how indie they can be by staying home and not letting their favorite bands get too big.
Whatever, serendipity was in the house for the 20 or so stragglers that caught the set from the San Diego-based instrumental four-piece, named after the fictitious talking crab that lives inside the band members’ heads. (That same crab, drawn haphazardly on my notebook, also graced the 2001 tour posters adorning the front windows.) Oma Yang treated the sparse crowd to a delightful pastiche of discordance, dissonance and ambience.
The band came to town touting a sound akin to A Minor Forest, a now-defunct San Francisco-based act, and Don Caballero, one of Chicago-based Touch and Go Records’ finer ensembles, but it barreled through a set displaying sides you might not associate with those bands. Fueled by a rhythm section consisting of Dong-Ping Wong on drums and keys and Jacob Glenn-Levin on bass, guitarists Nick Lesley—who also played keyboards—and Andy Kortman mirrored some of Sonic Youth’s instrumental moments and then delved in Cluster and Eno territory without losing a beat, except for one nice drumstick drop at the most frenetic moment of the set.
Oma Yang is signed, if you can call it that, to Slowdance Records, the same label that brought the beautiful sounds of Roots of Orchis. Since Slowdance is a true “bedroom” label, it’s highly unlikely you’ll be seeing Oma Yang on a theater tour next time around. But that’s why this scene is so cool. For roughly 12 bucks, you can see a show, pick up a CD—I bought a cool, little compilation in a manila envelope, hand numbered, even—and slam an iced espresso.
… and double master blasters
Normally, you hit the American River bike trail to get away from the everyday racket, correct? But on a Sunday afternoon, if you think you’re gonna get much bucolic quiet time there, you’re a maroon. Especially around Discovery Park, which is often teeming with people busy cremating meat to the amplified old-school sounds of Parliament-Funkadelic and Sly & the Family Stone.
Now, tape-deck jams may be the Señor Kitty’s double master blaster, but music in an all-the-way-live context is the hepcat’s meow. So imagine wheeling around the corner and hearing the cool textural jazzoid sounds of electric guitar, tenor sax, bass and drums, collectively known as the Sardonics, over whose sounds a couple of chaps were freestyle rapping. The weather was not only tolerably non-blast furnace-like, but downright cool; the light crowd was socalizing over beers and some Jack (but no apparent bluntage). It was a pretty sweet vibe, which is to say that uninvited bicyclists were not thrown into the berry bushes by hired gorillas. Suits this lad.