Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Local Band Showcase- Cicada Omega

































I am incredibly excited to announce that Cicada Omega, Portland's rowdiest bunch of rabble-rousers, are set to celebrate the release of their debut record These Bones. Come one! Come all! Get to Dante's at 8:00 on June 6th for the opening bands Sasparilla and Bark Hide and Horn to hear them in all their glory. But make sure you stick around for Cicada Omega's juke-joint blues mixed with spirited gospel sing-alongs guaranteed to get you up out ya chair. In fact, you won't need chairs at all during this performance. You can take my word for this!

History of Cicada Omega

Daniyel, Barry and Salim from Cicada Omega were in a band called Big Spider Tribe somewhere around 2001. After this band broke up, Barry recruited Dave to play drums in a band called Land Between the Lakes. While playing with the Land Between the Lakes for a couple months, Dave began playing in another band called the Kentucky Snakehandlers with John Murphy from Big Spider Tribe. The Kentucky Snakehandlers recorded two albums and garnered a small following after playing a handful of shows between 2002-2004. However, the band members disagreed on which direction the band should take next, so Dave left the band and started jamming with Barry and Daniyel from Big Spider Tribe to form Tuckasee Revival in the Spring of 2004.

Cicada was spawned from the ashes of these various bands in Portland Oregon, but their roots lie in the backwoods of Kentucky. According to Dave, Cicada's first show was on Halloween in 2004. Then, the band played their last show as Cicada on Dec 31, 2004 at the Rabbithole Tavern.

A couple months later they found at their band name was already taken, so they agreed to change the band name to Cicada Omega. Shortly after changing it's moniker, the band recruited Salim from Big Spider Tribe to play a percussion kit made out of scrap metal and car parts from the junkyard. His brand of primal latin percussion has added another dimension to the sound of the already tight rhythm section of Cicada Omega.

Their current lineup features Reverend Barry D. Winfield on fire and brimstone vocals, harmonica, banjo and suitcase guitar, Daniyel Hicks on oil barrel bass, suitcase bass and vocals, Dave Rue on drums and vocals and Salim Sundiata Sanchez on junkyard percussion and vocals. Over the years, Cicada Omega have undoubtedly honed their craft by dedicating time and energy to creating music that comes from the heart and eventually possesses your soul.

Cicada Omega- These Bones

I have been blessed with the opportunity of listening to These Bones by Cicada Omega before it's release date on June 6th. After listening to it four times, I can honestly say that they have exceeded my expectations.

This album was recorded on a shoestring budget with most of the engineering duties assumed by the drummer, Dave Rue. In my humble opinion, albums recorded using Pro-Tools or Cubase have the tendency to sacrifice the raw integrity of the music in exchange for a polished, radio friendly sound. However, this record successfully captures the visceral energy of the band's live performances, despite the fact that it was produced on a Macintosh computer.


"Four Horsemen" is the perfect introduction to Cicada Omega, because it sets the mood for the rest of the record with its hip-shaking rhythms, incendiary slide guitar solos and an infectious chorus proclaiming:

We are Cicada Omega- Hell Yeah!
The Four Horsemen- Cicada Omega- Hell Yeah!
From the New Blue Moon-Cicada Omega- Hell Yeah!
A Plague of Locust Upon You

Elsewhere on this record, Cicada Omega performs exuberant renditions of traditional gospel and blues songs such as "Ring Like Gold and "This Time Another Year" that sound like they were taken straight from the field recordings of Alan Lomax. Other highlights on the record include the funky blues number, "Big Black Chain" with funk-inflected wah-wah bass and searing slide guitar, the transcendental desert-blues boogie of "Devil's Elbow" and the mellow strum-along folk of "These Bones".

A complete list of Cicada Omega's musical influences would be too comprehensive to list here, but it is evident that the spirit of John Lee Hooker, Captain Beefheart, Junior Kimbrough and the Staples Singers lives on through their music. The band traverses all over the proverbial musical map, making frequent forays into blues, gospel, rock and folk. However, no stone is left unturned in their journey towards discovery. Each song is a little space in time that evokes memories of days gone by with a glimmer of hope for what the future holds.

Please check out the band's website and myspace for further information on purchasing These Bones in addition to other merchandise such as tour posters and t-shirts. If you live in Portland, get yer behind to Dante's on Friday, June 6th to celebrate the release of Cicada Omega's debut record These Bones. The cost is $6 at the door and the party starts at 8:00 p.m.

Cicada Omega- Four Horsemen and
Devil's Elbow
strong>From: These Bones [Cicada Omega , 2008]

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