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A Band By Any Other Name

  08/07/10 20:07, by , Categories: BFMN Exclusive, Bands, Review, Featured Artist, Awesome Nobodies , Tags: of sons and ghosts, san diego, signature sound, steven rask, the casbah, the soda bar

A Review by Steven Rask

Imagine your favorite local band; the sound they produce, the way the music seeps into your subconscious. You have all their releases, you anticipate their next album, and their next show. Then, without warning, you’re told that they’ve decided to take the band in a different direction. They’ve changed their entire approach to the music, and most importantly, they’ve changed their name. They are a brand new band. The line-up is the same; same guys on guitars, bass, drums, and vocals, but there’s definitely something brand new about this band. Now, imagine seeing them live for the first time. You go into the club with no preconception, no expectations. A brand new band.

In 1999, a band named Ricksha hit the San Diego music scene, and self-produced two strong releases: “Alien” and “Diamond Pressure.” Both albums were destined to be local classics, with a fresh, hard hitting sound, excellent musicianship and intelligent lyrics, but unfortunately didn’t get the airplay they deserved. After a brief hiatus, the band took a strong look at how they approached the last two albums, and decided to start anew, find a new approach to the sound, and see how things clicked. From the new sound arose brand new band: Of Sons and Ghosts (abbreviated OSAG for simplicity’s sake).

OSAG debuted at The Soda Bar in Downtown San Diego in July, and On Thursday, August 5th they played their second show at The Casbah, a popular local venue, considered the pinnacle club where all up-and-coming San Diego bands aspire to play.

“If you came to see Ricksha, they’re no longer a band” said guitarist Danny Medina, at the beginning of OSAG’s set. The announcement was received by laughs and cheers, as Of Sons and Ghosts proceeded to deliver a powerful 6-song set. Each song is distinct in its own right, with a clean, syncopated, ethereal sound that is certain to become trend-setting.

The two guitarists, Danny Medina and Barry Ligman complement one another by polarizing their tones. Ligman plays his arpeggiated lines on his Fender Stratocaster on a clean setting through a Fender Deluxe, while Medina plays his very warm, yet distorted, melodic lead parts with his Gibson Les Paul Gold Top, Memory Man effects unit and a VOX AC30. “I started using the Memory Man in rehearsals,” says Medina, “and everyone really liked the effect.” In effect, it had an affect on the overall sound, which Medina describes as “ghosty.” “It really made a difference toward our approach, and influenced the band’s name in a roundabout way.”

Vocalist Lane Dawson’s solid, rich, tenor voice equilibrates the ghost-like feel to the songs. “I use a lot more falsetto than I did in the other band,” says Dawson. “I really focused on the melody during the writing process, and we worked very hard on vocal harmonies as well." The vocal harmonies by Medina, Ligman and bassist Brian Grover are impeccable, and lend to the etherealness of OSAG’s ghost-like sound. The rhythm section of bassist Grover and drummer Adam Eidson drive the band with melodic bass lines and tight, syncopated rhythms that fill the room and force the audience to move. “I try to get a beefy tone from my bass” Grover said “with the tone knob completely down on my G&L Bass, I can still get a crisp tone and complement the drums.” In regard to the drums, Eidson said, “I try to come up with  something different for each song. I’ll ride on a tom instead of the ride cymbals, use more kick on some songs, etc., just to keep it interesting.” Interesting, indeed. During their performance, as I looked around The Casbah, heads bobbed, feet stomped, people clapped along in time, while others attentively gyrated in one spot.

Of Sons and Ghosts is currently completing a 10-track album at Signature Sound in San Diego, which has a  tentative release date of late-Fall. The CD, of which three songs are complete, will be self-produced with the assistance of Signature Sound’s Christian Cummings. The band felt that previous recording efforts were a bit rushed. “We really want to take our time on this one, and get it right.”

As for the band’s name, Medina states, “We could have called the band anything, really. I suggested ‘Monkey Butt,’ but that didn’t go over too well.” Be certain that Of Sons and Ghosts is a name that will be remembered and duly noted in San Diego for a long time. What’s in a name anyway? It’s the music that’s important, and OSAG certainly proved that point. The music is astounding. It’s fresh, unique, catchy, and will prove to stand the test of time. Shakespeare said it best when he wrote: “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” If  good ol’ Will had heard OSAG on this particular night, he very well may have said the same thing.

Of Sons And Ghosts is: Lane Dawson, Vocals; Danny Medina, Lead Guitar;
Barry Ligman
, Rhythm Guitar; Brian Grover, Bass; Adam Eidson, Drums

Find OSAG online on their site, myspace and facebook.


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Comment from: Kay Dawson  
Kay Dawson

I think this is an excellent review! I know you are incredibly talented!!!

08/09/10 @ 20:15
Comment from: Support Local Music
Support Local Music

That is a great and well written review. I can’t wait to see these guys live. I heard they are incredible.

08/13/10 @ 13:09

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