By Harriet Kaplan
Owl plays heavy, melodic rock and they also mine the genres of alternative, classic rock and metal. They have been called neo grunge. That label isn’t far off the mark. The band also has dark, brooding sound reminiscent of Soundgarden. Speaking of grunge, the three-piece powerhouse trio fronted by bassist and singer/songwriter Chris Wyse, who known for playing with everyone from The Cult to Ozzy Osbourne and being the bassist for Ace Frehley ( Frehley is one of the founding members of KISS), has a foreboding vocal style that recalls Alice in Chains Layne Staley.
He can alternatively croon and/or shriek depending on the approach the experimental, challenging and personal material calls for and is loaded with sonic hooks that pulled listeners in and kept them there at a recent show at The Whisky in Hollywood, CA. Owl is now on tour promoting their third studio effort, Things You Can’t See, due for release on July 28. The eight-song set included three new songs: the title track, “Alive” (which is acoustic version of the song that first appeared on Owl’s self-titled debut album), “Who’s Going To Save You.” The searing and gripping “Pusher” was performed early in the show and one of evening’s high points that set the tone for the night. Alternatively playing an electric bass and an upright bass gave the performance a dramatic and unique visual effect especially the confident way Wyse yielded both instruments physically with total ease striking subtle yet effective poses and coaxing out dynamic, off-kilter chord structures. It was exciting to watch how Wyse played with aplomb and dexterity. He spoke between songs to the audience. He expressed his fondness for The Whisky, L.A., and cheekily asked if anyone has gotten laid this Summer yet. Wyse introduced the band members individually and allowed space for them to solo and showcase their individual talents. Guitarist Jason Achilles Mezilis and drummer Dan Dinsmore offered up musicianship that had a driving intensity and strength that hit the mark. Owl has a body of memorable songs and promising new material to add to their expanding catalog. The trio put on a great live show that had personality and character without being overtly flashy or gimmicky with a solid focus on their impeccable chops.