Stephen O’Malley

PARIS review

Posted: Apr 19, 2005

First time I have been called groovy.


Nouveau Casino, Thursday April 7th 2005. A progressive deletion of all temporal notions, then everything leaps into darkness only leaving some blue beams sweeping the room and the green LEDs of the terrifyingly huge amplifiers. Not one movement. The whole venue is hypnotized. Four men arrive on stage. They’re dressed as monks with beards coming out.

In the center, Stephen O'Malley, his back to the audience, grabs his guitar, brandishes it real high, flips it and then straps it on religiously. The room is already vibrating, and the boys, over 6’2” and almost as much hair, are ready. Sunn O))) : two long tracks, 90 minutes; Enough to give faith just by fearing hell. Enough to love that frail little absent girl that mutilates herself in class (or in the supermarket, or in the office, or whatever to feel her underbelly trembling as much as her heart).

The sound is dense, and definitively tangible. The unease of the first minutes and the shivers fade away leaving the floor to fright and hypnosis. One would very much like to stand back and look at their mimics, the way they point their guitar picks towards the sky. The way they pucker up the lips and hit a big riff. Let those laughing get that wall of amplifiers in their face and those who timidly listen to the record before the TV news and are not here tonight, go to hell. NO, not hell… and that’s too bad for them.

Sunn O)))… it’s very simple….. it’s absolutely groovy… and for more than an hour, your body is only standing by the power of the vibrations and your eardrums are budging. They have just started the second piece. You get closer and everything is even more magnified. That’s it! You’re there! you are at the dentist, your jaw is shaking and resounding and there is no anaesthesia. You want it to stop but are you sure about that?

You have no idea how you stood but it’s now finished and you raise your arms while clenching your fists. With all respects and hails, you leave the venue.

The next sin will be to go home and listen to the Carpenters and scream “God exists; he searched my insides with his guitar and he’s dressed as a monk” to those who ask you “so… how was it?”