Oxbow & Peter Brötzmann 🇺🇸/🇩🇪 An Eternal Reminder Of Not Today: Live At Moers

3 min read

Band: Oxbow & Peter Brötzmann
Title: An Eternal Reminder Of Not Today: Live At Moers
Label: Trost Records
Release Date: 21 October 2022
Country: USA / Germany
Format Reviewed: Digital Download

On An Eternal Reminder Of Not Today: Live At Moersreleased via Trost Records on Friday, 21st October — California’s Avant-garde, Noise Rock four-piece Oxbow teams up with European Free Jazz veteran Peter Brötzmann for a wild onstage collaboration. The results are spectacular.

Some years ago, the movie Music For Adults: A Film About A Band Called Oxbow documented the Oxbow live experience and what might befall audience members making the mistake of testing the patience of the band’s imposing frontman Eugene S. Robinson.

In those days Robinson would often be found two or three songs into a set in nothing but shoes, socks and underpants. Fast forward to 2018 (when Live At Moers was recorded) and Robinson’s stage attire is a little more refined. The music of Oxbow however remains as intense as ever.

Drawing from five of the band’s seven studio albums — including one from their debut, Fuckfest, and three from 2017’s most recent release Thin Black Duke Live At Moers demonstrates why Oxbow remain one of rock’s most criminally underappreciated bands and a truly unstoppable force on stage.

As far back as 1991, the band was already collaborating. “Angel” — the opener of this show — originally featured Lydia Lunch as guest vocalist — now it’s Brötzmann sharing centre stage with Robinson and his nimble, zigzagging saxophone playing is a perfect foil to Robinson’s maniacal, animalistic delivery.

As relatively subdued (by Oxbow standards) as the opener is, it packs a huge emotional gut punch, with a significantly older and more battle scarred Robinson really pulling at the intestines as he sings “Angel Angel Angel I was good for nothing, and even that was a bargain for the garbage in your garden”.

While the on stage dynamic between Robinson and Brötzmann is compelling — with the later expertly slotting into the band on every track — one should never talk about the majesty of Oxbow without giving a nod to the fantastic musicianship and shared understanding of Niko Wenner, Dan Adams and Greg Davis.

While bassist Adams largely keeps out of the spotlight — both in interviews and on stage — his fluid, fretless bass playing adds a noirish-layer of dark class. Drummer Davis, meanwhile, is that rare breed of drummer who can in one moment switch between delicate, nuanced finesse and rapid, pounding intensity.

For an example of Davis at his exhilarating best, look no further than the charging power of “A Gentleman’s Gentleman” driven by his powerhouse performance. Likewise, the jazzy patterns that Davis menovers through on “Host” — another hard rocker — are a delight.

And then there’s Niko Wenner — the guitaris, pianist and composer — no less singular in his style of playing and melodic construction than Robinson is as a one of a kind vocalist.

Often working with unusual guitar tunings, Wenner is a huge part of the musical construct that is the Oxbow sound, he’s also masterful in carving out space for the vocals (and here too saxophone).

Wenner is one of those players who gives the impression that what he’s playing is really rather simple, when it’s clearly far from it and when it’s time — as on “A Gentleman’s Gentleman” — to switch to the piano, he’ll casually do so.

An Eternal Reminder Of Not Today is not just a top-tier live performance, it’s an impressively well-recorded show, sounding as good, production-wise as any studio recording.

Great players, great performance, great sound, great songs. Mere mortals such as I would be ill advised to look for holes in art as perfectly delivered as this. It is what it is. 10/10 Tom Osman

Peter Brötzmann:

The Oxbow


10/10 Immortal Classic
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