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Oh No Ono & Cate Le Bon @ Mercury Lounge – pics & setlist

words & photos by Ben Lozovsky

Oh No Ono

Oh No Ono might have a solution to the fuel crisis. After a manic SXSW run that saw them play six shows in four days, the Danish band continued to churn out gigs, making their last two pit-stops in America before heading back to Europe. The first was Wednesday (3/24) at Mercury Lounge; showing little signs of road wear, the five piece brought back their big hair and bigger musical ambitions to one of the same venues they played in January.

With a seemingly endless supply of renewable energy, Oh No Ono kept their Egg rolling, playing a set packed with numbers from their 2009 album. If there was perhaps any consequence of exhaustion, it could have been Oh No Ono delving into longer stretches of ambient territory as wide rumbling preludes smoothly introduced circuitous numbers like “Swim” and “Eleanor Speaks.” It could also be more of an elaboration on the moments of quiet discomfort that pop up throughout their last recorded effort. On Eggs, those spots of downtime and atmosphere hardly prepare you for the largeness of oncoming numbers. Live, Oh No Ono used those build-ups more effectively, adding anticipation and counter balances to their riotous assemblage of electronic fuzz and extraterrestrial power pop.

Oh No Ono’s singular variety of space funk surely is not without influences; at times on the album, they channel predecessors ELO, Of Montreal, and Air. But as a red-cheeked bunch of Danish lads only could – by replacing cocaine-induced sunshine (of the former) and sexualized serotonin (of the two latter) with a full on barrage of plutonic happiness.

They still might be drugged or sexed up on the side, but musically Oh No Ono represent a youthful abstention from all those frontiers of full-on adulthood. Sometimes it worked to their disadvantage, when things got off-kilter and out of sync at times Wednesday night.

But for the most part, in concert, they used their unrelenting rambunctiousness to move away from the more borrowed elements of their sound. Even during a jaw-dropping cover of Radiohead’s “Weird Fishes (Arpeggi),” which has now been planted firmly in their repertoire, they took momentary ownership of the slinky number with a post-rock meets punk-fireworks interpretation. In drilling the depths of well-known rock iconoclasts, they’ve found a new source of fossil fuel all their own.

Their show last night was with Little Dragon and VV Brown at Music Hall of Williamsburg. More pictures from Mercury Lounge where Cate Le Bon was the opener (and their setlist), below…

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