Oxbow The #1 Legion, Calgary AB, June 25
Published Jun 26, 2015For a large number of people, witnessing a rare Calgary appearance from legendary San Francisco noise rock act Oxbow was a big deal. The #1 Legion was filled with devotees who could easily be heard geeking out over setlist choices as the band ploughed through the evening.
Despite their decades of experience, Oxbow hardly came off like the many other tired nostalgia acts cluttering the festival circuit; their set was muscular, high-energy and entertaining. Frontman Eugene Robinson tirelessly hyped the crowd while the rest of the band delivered the exact sort of off-kilter, high-volume rock that could be expected of them. It was a sea of sights, sounds and even smells — the band burned incense throughout their set, which was surprisingly potent through the relatively large venue.
Still, one couldn't help but feel a little alienated if they weren't as well versed with Oxbow's back catalogue. While being inaccessible is certainly a positive trait in a noise-leaning rock band, it's still fair to assume that a top-tier group like Oxbow would be able to win over crowd members who'd never heard of them before, especially fans packed into a venue for the equally "difficult" Lightning Bolt. Instead, it was a group of long-time fans rocking out while the rest of the audience patiently waited for them to finish their set.