A&C Recommends: O’Death at SPACE Gallery presented by HillyTown

Photo Courtesy of Ernest Jenning Record Co.

Posted on September 09, 2011 in Arts & Culture
By Dylan Martin

Three years after working for SPACE Gallery, event manager Bryan Bruchman is finally getting his dream show. And about time, too — he’s moving back to Brooklyn the day after.

O’Death is a band Bruchman has been vying for a while, and on Sept. 18, his Portland music blog, Hilly Town, will present their show at SPACE Gallery. The Brooklyn-based genre-defying act is known for their unique infusion of folk, punk, metal, and bluegrass, evoking a Gothic Americana aesthetic. Their 2011 album, “Outside,” is a unique entry in the contemporary folk space, where epic flourishes and the cross-pollinating of genres have become commonplace. Receiving favorable reviews from the likes of the BBC and Pitchfork, the album is dark and menacing, and other times benevolent and calm.

Besides their lush peculiar sound, the band is known for energetic, relentless live performances. One concert review said their stage show is “what happens when rednecks find punk rock.” In fact, many publications have thrown the “redneck” term around. Bruchman says that they’ve been on of his favorite live acts and that “seeing them is always a fun, sweaty time.”

O’Death is one of the last bands Bruchman wanted to see in Maine. In his time living in Portland, Bruchman has seen most of his favorites pass by, including Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, Land of Talk, Screaming Females and Milagres, a band newly-signed to Kill Rock Stars that Bruchman booked himself. Ironically, O’Death was one of the first bands on his booking to-do list.

“It’s too bad it’s for my last night in town, but somehow very appropriate,” said Bruchman.

In addition to shepherding out-of-state bands into Maine, Bruchman has also been a champion for local music. He often books and promotes Maine-based acts that appear on HillyTown, and for O’Death’s show, he gave Butcher Boy and Splendora Colt the opening slots.

Butcher Boy, a group of former and current USM students, is a raucous punk band that plays a whole lot of banjo and delivers a frenzy of energy. Bruchman says the band’s live show is close to rivaling O’Death’s. Splendora Colt is a new rock band in Portland run by Wesley Allen Hartley, a Texas-born musician who was best known for his country-punk band, Dead End Armory.

Though Bruchman said he will remain involved in helping Portland in the future, the O’Death show marks a bittersweet end on his contributions to Portland’s community while living in the city.