Friday, July 17, 2015

Owl at Lucille's Grill

Bassist Chris Wyse was born in Queens, New York, and soon relocated to the Albany area, where as a teenager he played in a local band with drummer Dan Dinsmore. Wyse later moved to Los Angeles to pursue a music career, secured gigs both in bands and in the recording studio, and in 2006 joined the Cult. Wyse also started a side project with Dinsmore and recruited guitarist Jason Mezilis in 2007 to form a hard rock power trio called Owl. Wyse maintained his position in both the Cult and Owl, and also played bass for Ozzy Osbourne and Ace Frehley. Owl releases its third album, Things You Can't See, on July 28, 2015.

At Lucille's Grill tonight, Owl showed a healthy appetite for the irregular and unusual. With years of experience in popular bands, Wyse could have chosen to perform safe hard rock songs for a sure-fire audience. Instead, Owl performed an adventurous hard rock set, where imaginatively-composed songs had enough traditional structure to make them sound familiar, but always included some bold and ambitious left-of-center detours. These lush and lavish detours showcased instrumental intricacy with Mezilis playing dazzling extended guitar leads and Dinsmore hammering his drums ferociously. Wyse sang passionately, and commanded visual attention when he played a thin stand-up bass with a bow, often using delays and sound effects to further enrich the band’s ambitious sound. As the musicians moved between mellower singer-songwriter songs to heavier, noisier pieces, this was unbridled and ambitious rock for musically mature fans.

Owl opens for Philm at the Mercury Lounge on August 10. In the meantime, visit Owl at