One of the highlights of my recent NAMM trip was seeing the double bill of OHM and Polcat - which both feature Chris Poland on guitar - at Alva's in San Pedro CA on Friday, January 20th. Though I've seen OHM several times, I was particularly interested in this gig as it was my first time seeing the band with drummer David Eagle, who was really great. The band was ferocious as always; super intense from start to finish. Bassist Robert 'Pag' Pagliari also had a fantastic solo spot, and Poland's playing and killer tones seem to get better every time I see him.
Second on the bill was the first-ever live performace by Polcat, which made it a real treat to see. Their debut album should be released soon (you can pre-order and listen to samples here), and I can tell you the material is way-cool. Led by Poland and sax phenom Frank Catalano, Polcat's music is a funky mix of jazz and rock that reminded me at times of the legendary New York fusion band Lost Tribe. I was very curious to see how Poland would fit in with a band like this, and came away with the impression that his input is the 'secret sauce' that gives the group it's unique vibe, or at least contributes greatly to it. Poland's quirky, often 'outside,' harmonic sense lends a distinctive sound to the band that it wouldn't have with any other guitarist. Polcat also features bassist Sean O'Bryan Smith and drummer Jim Gifford - both monster players. I was seriously digging O'Bryan's flanged tone and Gifford's work on such a minimal kit. Can't wait to hear the album. Follow the link below for my photos from this great night.