The Oslo, London
Words & pics by Captain Stavros
What do you think would happen if there was a food processor the size of a room? I mean, there probably is somewhere, but what about right here, on this page? Well, prepare to be amazed because there is, without any of the messy clean up either! What if we told you we were going to take 1992’s Irish export Ash, chuck in a whole heap of American mid ‘90s trio, Ben Folds Five, with a generous helping of none other than the Blue album maestro’s themselves, Weezer? Will it blend? It sure will, but will it also be a textureless mass, that’d be an acquired taste for most, you ask? Also yes! Welcome to our quick and dirty, with a no fuss clean-up, review of Empty Country.
We must’ve been distracted whilst haphazardly listening to the new single ‘David’ from Empty Country II (out now on Tough Love Records), Joseph D'Agostino (Cymbals Eat Guitars) solo project, because we asked to check-out the one-off performance last week at The Oslo. Taking the stairs two by two, as is our reckless style, we made it to the gig halfway through the opening act’s performance. The crowd up here, like the air and the music, was pretty thin. We lingered near the back, catching up with a friend who’d also just come out of Dream Scenario (would recommend) and came with us to catch this show, which, we would not recommend.
Empty Country came on, and although the crowd fattened up, we had lost our appetite for the gig by the third song, whatever it was. It was the porridge of all gigs, just a bunch of mush without any texture. One song blended into the other and we couldn't really hear the lyrics (or chose not to) from where we were standing which, at this point, was right at the front. Halfway through the gig D’Agostino, who was hitting the high notes like…..we don't wanna say eunuch, but think eunuch, but we’re definitely not saying it, got pretty emotional. Lamenting on, and being appreciative about, where he was in life because a couple of years prior, he didn't know where he would be, he carried on like this for a time, almost completely breaking down. Listen, don’t get us wrong, appreciation is in our Top Five but pandering to a crowd and reminiscing about the pandemic is a cut we do not need to keep hearing on heavy rotation, jeez Louise already! It was hard enough to get into the groove when even the band’s feet stayed cemented to the ground as their top halves, semi-deflated, swung around like those dancing used car lot balloon people things.
That being said, the Oslo was pretty full, we’d say almost half full, and is there anything wrong with porridge in the end? Some people seem to think not. Sure, you can zhuzh it up with cinnamon, raisins, honey, fruit, you name it, but it's still just porridge in the end. In the end, for good or ill, no one got hurt. Is there anything wrong with heading to a failing brewery on a Tuesday night to catch the resident band who just so happens to be the less than hoppy, Coors Light of bands? We’re looking at you, Empty Country. If you ask us, maybe. If you ask your friends and they say, ‘certainly not!’, we will not argue with you. We might, however, take a rain-check the next time a gig is recommended.