First off what the heck is an Oysterhead, we shall go back in time to May 5th, 2000 (The New Orleans Jazz Festival) before going forward in order to shed a bit of light regarding the history of Oysterhead. Every year the organizers of The New Orleans Jazz Festival try to put together a super group for a night of jamming. That year a call was placed to Les Claypool (Bass player of Primus fame), he was asked to put together a band. Claypool contacted Trey Anastasio (Guitarist for Phish) and asked if he'd be interested in the project, he was. Claypool then asked Anastasio who he thought should play drums, Anastasio jokingly said Stewart Copeland (Drummer of The Police) figuring no way, since Copeland had not performed live in over ten years (keeping busy writing movie soundtracks instead), surprisingly Copeland agreed to the project after talking to Claypool on the phone. That was how Oysterhead came to be. After the New Orleans performance the trio liked what they had done and went into the studio to record their first album entitled "The Grand Pecking Order," (check out the orcasound CD review on this site).
Presently the boys are on a fifteen-city tour and we here in Canada were lucky enough to snag one of these shows. Off to Toronto I went. The Oysterhead concert in Toronto proved to be a wonderful experience. From the opening notes of "The Grand Pecking Order" to the closing notes of Band Of Gypsies cover "Changes" the boys came to play. Having only a forty-five minute album under their belts, jamming was the order of the day. Stewart Copeland kept jumping between two drum sets, one a standard rock kit the other a more percussive set up. Copeland laid down his trademark rock solid grooves, bass player Claypool set up the melody and guitarist Anastasio in his trademark way would noodle over top. Oysterhead may very well be the most powerful trio to come along since Rush. Highlights included a twenty-minute reworking of Rubberneck Lions with very interesting rhythms and jams flowing in and out. A nice moment in the show was when Anastasio did some solo acoustic work at the beginning of Raydon Balloon, eventually being joined by the rest of the band. Anastasio brought along Kris Koruda the lighting technician for Phish and the end result was the tasty lights Phish Heads have come to expect of him, no incredible flash, just perfect mood lighting, lots of purples and blues. Before the encore, Claypool, himself being a huge Rush fan proclaimed to be very honored to be in the same hall that Rush recorded "All The Worlds A Stage" in. Although it seems to be a one time thing (as it is rumored Phish will fire it up again in the spring of 2002) it was definetly a treat to see three exceptional musicians jamming smiling and having a great time, spreading the good vibe throughout the hall. Hopefully, they will continue as a band.
Set List: The Grand Pecking Order / Pseudo Suicide / Owner Of The World / Radon Ball / Polka Dot Rose / Shadow Of A Man / Oz Is Ever Floating / Wield The Spade / Rubberneck Lions / Mr. Oysterhead /
Encore Changes (Band Of Gypsies cover)