Reviewed By: Roger Sharman
There are few things in life that you can be certain of; death, taxes, and great album covers by one of the most interesting artists to be making Americana records today, Aaron Lee Tasjan. Originating from New Albany, Ohio, thirty two year old Aaron has acquired the reputation of being a great entertainer and an extremely talented guitarist with a very distinctive sound.
With this in mind I headed off to the show full of excitement to see if all that I had heard was true.
Straight from the off it’s apparent that Aaron is a great frontman, getting the crowd going from the off with ‘The Dangerous Kind’ from ‘In the Blazes’, Aaron’s first album. It has a trippy Psychedelic feel, with some interesting electronic effects over the melody.
The ‘Karma for Cheap’ album is a journey back to Aaron’s rocky roots and he wastes no time in heading into that record for ‘The Rest is Yet to Come’, a quirky, track with Bowie-like vocals and a Sergeant Pepper like musical track. Followed by another track in the same ilk ‘The Truth is So Hard to Believe’. It is uncanny at times, if you were to close your eyes during these tracks, you could picture a Ray Davies or a David Bowie up on stage, that’s how British sounding these two tracks are.
‘Dime’ a favourite of many from 2016’s ‘Silver Tears’ album continues in a similar vein, Aaron switching to a twelve-string guitar for this picking up the pace to a gallop, the crowd’s heads nodding perfectly in time. It is clear that the audience are responding to the band, and it’s clear that the band are enjoying their surroundings and the performance.
There’s more than a hint of T-Rex mixed in with a little Bowie for the storming ‘Set You Free’, where once again we are treated to a masterful demonstration of a band working at its optimal level of togetherness, with Aaron working his guitar like it was a magic wand in a great magician’s hands. They’ve got the place rocking at this point in time.
As if only to give the audience a few moments to catch its breath and its thoughts, another Jam from the latest release, ‘Songbird’ is up next, with a fairground like feel to it. It almost felt like the calm before the storm, and that storm was just about to hit the the Omeara flush on the chin in the form of ‘Memphis Rain’. Tasjan retains the acoustic guitar with a more laid-back feel, showcasing that British influenced, Americana sound, throughout the four minutes twenty odd of sheer unadulterated bliss. I hear shades of Roy Orbison and John Lennon in the vocals, all adding to the subtle power of the song.
Before ‘Judee was a Punk’, Aaron paid homage to one of his influences, Judee Sill, the American Folk singer, who was the first artist David Geffen signed for Asylum records. She died of an overdose in 1979.
‘Heart Slows Down’ starts off as a tripped-out jam, borrowing from Thunderclap Newman’s ‘Something in the Air’, & sounding like a modern-day Tom Petty. This is one of the highlights of the show.
The real treat of the night came next, the audience was exposed to a full-on sonic explosion, an extended version of ‘Ready to Die’. This had the whole room spellbound by the incredible guitar solo that Aaron was laying down. Posing for the audience, circling on the spot, fingers sliding up and down the fret board with consummate ease. This was a full-on jam, lasting in excess of ten minutes and taking us on a journey to the edge of the universe & back. Which is exactly the kind of trip Aaron wanted to take us on, I’m sure.
Showing the full range of his vocal prowess with the final track of the night, the floaty ‘Dream Dreamer’, hitting the high notes and the low with equal amount of ease. The crowd was fully satisfied without the encore, but to spoil us even more, Aaron came back out armed with his acoustic guitar for a killer version of Tom Petty’s ‘The Waiting’, which included a brief insert of ‘American Girl’. Nobody left the Omeara with any complaints or felt short changed with the number of tracks played. Everyone left with a contented smile on their faces and Aaron in their heart!