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Dang, It's O’Brother

O’Brother, a five-piece from Atlanta, has three guitarists and a huge sound. I ask Johnny Dang how O’Brother manages to sound like a big stack of amps crammed into a small bag. “We don’t try to make it sound huge, but we leave a lot of room for textures and layers for things that we want to do with other instruments.” Otherwise, he says they favor simplicity. And guitar-heavy as they may be, O’Brother is not into the unmitigated soloing that usually comes with multiple guitarists. “That’s a true thing. We’re trying not to overdo the three-guitar thing like other bands have.”

Do they produce with big volume in mind? Dang, one of the three guitarists, thinks yes, but he jumps around in conversation before he comes up with a better word: “spacious.” Okay, but spacious does not describe the feeling of melancholic dread that’s going on within O’Brother. “A lot of people say they get scared when they listen to us at first,” Dang says. “It’s the meaning behind what we’re singing about. It’s not always a happy-type thing. It’s kind of anger-based.”

The band is in Pittsburgh the night we talk, readying for a tour stop in support of their first full-length release, Garden Window. Dang’s brother Anton is on bass, Michael Martin on drums, and Aaron Wamack plays guitar. The darkness, says Dang, comes from the third guitarist, Tanner Merritt, who also writes much of the band’s material, both hard and acoustic. Why didn’t O’Brother drink the industry Kool-Aid and Journey-up their sound in the manner of their peers, meaning big-dollar acts such as Linkin Park and Incubus? “That type of music is something we joke about.”

Thrice, La Dispute, and Moving Mountains also perform.

O’BROTHER: House of Blues, Friday, November 11, 6 p.m. 619-299-2583. $20, $35.

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O’Brother, a five-piece from Atlanta, has three guitarists and a huge sound. I ask Johnny Dang how O’Brother manages to sound like a big stack of amps crammed into a small bag. “We don’t try to make it sound huge, but we leave a lot of room for textures and layers for things that we want to do with other instruments.” Otherwise, he says they favor simplicity. And guitar-heavy as they may be, O’Brother is not into the unmitigated soloing that usually comes with multiple guitarists. “That’s a true thing. We’re trying not to overdo the three-guitar thing like other bands have.”

Do they produce with big volume in mind? Dang, one of the three guitarists, thinks yes, but he jumps around in conversation before he comes up with a better word: “spacious.” Okay, but spacious does not describe the feeling of melancholic dread that’s going on within O’Brother. “A lot of people say they get scared when they listen to us at first,” Dang says. “It’s the meaning behind what we’re singing about. It’s not always a happy-type thing. It’s kind of anger-based.”

The band is in Pittsburgh the night we talk, readying for a tour stop in support of their first full-length release, Garden Window. Dang’s brother Anton is on bass, Michael Martin on drums, and Aaron Wamack plays guitar. The darkness, says Dang, comes from the third guitarist, Tanner Merritt, who also writes much of the band’s material, both hard and acoustic. Why didn’t O’Brother drink the industry Kool-Aid and Journey-up their sound in the manner of their peers, meaning big-dollar acts such as Linkin Park and Incubus? “That type of music is something we joke about.”

Thrice, La Dispute, and Moving Mountains also perform.

O’BROTHER: House of Blues, Friday, November 11, 6 p.m. 619-299-2583. $20, $35.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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