Words and photography by Elizabeth Sharpe | @ummagummamumma
For those who have never listened to The Omnific; we are talking 3 of the most musically talented minds creating instrumental progressive math metal in its absolute finest with flawless and awe-inspiring technique… For those who have never seen The Omnific live; you are missing out! I’ve personally seen and photographed the trio quite a few times now, and I try not to miss the opportunity when they are in town (I’ve even planned to go see them rip up the Camden Assembly stage when they are in Lonon next month serendipitously while I am in Europe – they are THAT good!) They’ve accumulated quite the underground and cult following, so The Brightside tonight begins to fill with some very keen fans. Old, young, introverts, and extroverts – This type of music does not discriminate, and it attracts the most diverse demographic you’ll ever see. Merch is already starting to sell and I spot Toby Peterson-Stewart, one of the two Omnific bassists, having his photo taken with an adoring punter. Good to see!
The support act for this evening hails from Adelaide. Modern metal guitarist Keyan Houshmand, flanked by bassist, Kynan Mallia, and drummer, Steven Matthews. They step up onto the stage and break the ice by encouraging the crowd to come closer… which they do, as the trio launch into Arrhythmia. The bass work is deep and loaded, in perfect contrast to the sweet, sweet melodies played by Keyan in those higher octaves. It’s effortless but impactful. I’ve heard great things about Keyan, and I’m not disappointed one bit!
Pulse is next up and is aptly titled – you can feel this one right through to your bones. The next couple of songs are announced as unreleased and unnamed and fans were encouraged to head to the merch desk after their set to offer up any title suggestions.
While getting into the groove of what I like to think of as the trilogy of White, Grey, and Black, it was so good to turn around and see the Omnific lads out enjoying their support acts set too – certainly spurs on the feeling in me that the metal community, in particular that of the instrumental prog sub-genre variety, are amongst the wholesome and respectful of all. Black seems to have screeches, eerie, reminiscent of Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘Psycho’. I think this is my favourite one so far – they are closing out with a bang! One thing is for sure, if you came to this gig solely for The Omnific, you’ve just walked away with another killer band to add to all your playlists. It’s one of the most suitably paired bands on a lineup I’ve personally seen in a very long time.
The Omnific modestly take to the stage, with whistling and cheers from the excited crowd, and burst into Antecedent. Prepare to have your mind blown! Watching Toby Peterson-Stewart and Matt Fack so masterfully wielding their weapons of choice live, together, and in perfect synchronicity is a thing of beauty and a great reminder of why they have climbed so steadily to be considered among the world’s best in their field.
A carnival-esque piano intro plays and this next song gets an introduction by drummer Jerome Lematua as Wax & Wane, before he absolutely launches himself into the kit with expert precision for every beat. Toby and Matt take turns sharing the center of the stage and often swap sides and the bass nerds and the crowd are loving it, getting to see each of these craftsmen up close and personal in such an intimate setting.
With sampling that is welcomed and balanced, and not at all a distraction, The Labyrinth Chronicles bring that carnival feel through again. This time there is an extension of the intro with added bass… a deliciously playful twist before the roof is lifted once again with heavy low-end riffs and unfathomable melodies – what these two can do with a bass will astound you, no kidding!
Jerome takes a moment to thank the support act. “Almost makes me want to play with guitarists!” The audience appreciates the joke and shares a laugh. In the most loving way possible, I say; if this truly was a carnival, we know exactly who the jester is. Jerome’s wit and lighthearted jokes, the beaming smile on his face that rarely fades… it all breathes even more life into their live show than just the music itself.
The trio get stuck into what is clearly a crowd favourite, Scurryfunge. Matt gets everyone in the room clapping with hands high above their heads and when the song is over there’s plenty of screams from the audience – it’s a pure winner. Before changing tune for Merlin’s id, Jerome asks everyone if they “wanna dance” and proceeds to stand up behind his kit and busts a few moves – his energy spills out into the crowd and there’s movement like waves through the venue as punters join him, grooving around.
We’re all asked by Jerome if we want to help them catch the “Formidable Phat Mackeral that’s been swimming around”… “Are you gonna help us catch him?” There’s an obliging and elevated roar from the crowd as they know that this is the introduction to The Omnific’s latest single, Phat Mackeral.
“Do you think we caught him? Yeah, we fucken did – let’s goooooooooo!”
Taking it back a few years, the band plays Erin … watching them play this live puts you in a trance-like state – how the hell did these 3 people come together so perfectly to form this band??? It is like Toby, Matt, and Jerome share a mind when they play together, and we are just the mere mortals that are blessed to witness it. These guys are world-class, no doubt in my mind.
We are now treated to an unreleased gem going by the name of Base Camp and it’s everything you’d expect from The Omnific – highs, lows, driving, elaborate drum beats, luscious layers, and complex, harmonising bass licks to leave you speechless. Jerome takes a short break (He’s a workhorse! He deserves it!) to stand and wave his hands as if the conductor of this splendid symphony.
Shortly after Ne Plus Ultra, the band re-emerge, cheered on for an encore – and Jerome gets the opportunity for one last joke; “If you know the lyrics, sing along!”
Whatever you do, if you have the chance to see these three in action – do it!
CATCH THE OMNIFIC AT BIGSOUND
SEPT 5 – SUPERFLY STUDIOS – 10:15PM
SEPT 7 – THE ZOO – 8:00PM
Thanks to Maric Media