Concert Review

Ours at Martini Ranch

It can't be easy to forge your own musical identity when every music writer insists on reminding you and everyone else in every article they write about you that you were good friends with Jeff Buckley. And you sound an awful lot like him. And come to think of it, you even kinda look like him.

Well, let me be the latest music writer to point it out: Ours frontman Jimmy Gnecco is a vocal doppelganger of Jeff Buckley. Which isn't such a bad thing, really. Buckley's voice was one in a million, and sound-a-likes should consider themselves lucky.

But Gnecco is no mere sound-a-like. To his credit, he has put his own goth-flavored, stylistic stamp on Ours that has gained him a loyal following. Some of those fans showed up for the band's show comfortably full last night at Martini Ranch, most of them die-hards who sang along to everything and danced to the poppier tunes.

Gnecco doesn't so much play his songs as he does feel them. Deeply. He connected with the audience throughout the night, but there were times when it seemed as if he entered a private music bubble, his eyes closed as he did his Buckely-esque high-pitched "ahh-oooh" wail into the microphone. At certain points he seemed to fall into a trance, moving his arms around wildly like he was conducting his own orchestra.

The emotional and musical highpoint was "Meet Me in the Tower," a frequently yelled-out fan request, which Gnecco played solo. When he sang, "Finally today I'm able/to put you in the ground/I'll see you in the ground," I'll admit I teared up a little bit. Granted, I cry at everything, but still. The combination of morbidly sweet lyrics and soulful, yearning singing would make even a self-proclaimed hardass a little weepy.

Tissue? --Yvonne Zusel

Critic's Notebook:

Better Than: Audioslave, who Ours sounded like every now and then.

Personal Bias: Not just one, but two of the band members sported long dreadlocks that I kind of wanted to run my fingers through. I have to give a couple of extra points to a band with that much hot dread action.

Random Detail: This wasn't a great night for openers. One opening band, Plain Jane Automobile, was AWOL, while the singer for locals Fourth Man in the Fire kept referring to Ours as "The Hours." Not good form, friend.

Further listening: Grace