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O’Brother, here art thou: Rock band bringing tour to Columbus

Courtesy of Christy Parry

After 13 years of friendship and six years as an established band, O’Brother released its first full-length album, “Garden Window,” in January.

O’Brother will be co-headlining with Junius at The Basement at 7 p.m. Wednesday as part of its U.S. tour.

The Dang brothers (bassist Anton and guitarist Johnny) met vocalist-guitarist Tanner Merritt in middle school. After jamming together throughout their childhood, the Atlanta band came together as O’Brother in 2006. The lineup also includes drummer Michael Martens and guitarist Aaron Wamack.

Anton Dang said Radiohead, Harvey Milk and a variety of film scores and other art forms have influenced the group.

“We didn’t have a conversation with each other saying, ‘We should sound like this band and this band,'” Anton Dang said. “It just kind of happened naturally.”

The band is happy to have finally finished its first album — an album each member would want to listen to, Anton Dang said.

“It was a lot of fun doing it,” Anton Dang said. “There is definitely a lot more room to do what you wanna do making a full-length instead of just recording a handful of songs … we got to do more things that we wanted to do.”

O’Brother’s live shows are what makes it stand out, Anton Dang said.

“I think our band shines best when we’re playing live together in a live setting,” Anton Dang said. “Our songs translate better when we’re playing it live.”

This is the band’s first time performing as a headlining act and they have found a number of unexpected fans.

“We had no idea what to expect, and the first four shows have had like 100 people there, and all those kids are singing our songs, which doesn’t normally really happen to us,” Anton Dang said.

Mike Sapone, a producer who has worked with bands such as Taking Back Sunday and Brand New, helped with the production of the record.

After the recent album release, newlywed Anton Dang said he hopes the band’s future holds more concerts, collaborations and touring.

Dana Buzzelli, a second-year in women’s studies, went to see O’Brother in Pittsburgh Tuesday and returned to Columbus to see the band again Wednesday for the fourth time. Buzzelli first saw O’Brother in Cleveland during a tour with The Dear Hunter.

“As soon as they started, I was just blown away and I’ve been in love with them ever since,” Buzzelli said. “I love their sound. It’s so powerful, but it’s hard to tack down into one specific genre. I love the way Tanner gets on his tiptoes when he’s singing high notes.”

Buzzelli and Anton Dang agree that O’Brother is meant to be seen live.

“Their energy is amazing, the last time I saw them play in Columbus … not to say that I was disappointed with their album, (but) I love them live so much better,” Buzzelli said. “It just blows you away, it’s so powerful. It’s a wall of sound coming at you.”

Michael Gutierrez, a third-year in economics and fan of Junius, is joining Buzzelli at both concerts.

“(O’Brother is) an amazing band live,” Gutierrez said. “They put on such a great show. They’re a good experience to be a part of.”

After hearing about the tour, Gutierrez looked up Junius online.

“From there I just immediately liked them,” Gutierrez said. “Their music’s really chill. It’s kind of like O’Brother, but it doesn’t have that same heaviness. It’s a heavy, atmospheric, grungy wall of sound. It absorbs you in this big wave of opposites.”

Gutierrez said O’Brother is one of the best shows he’s seen.

“O’Brother is definitely worth it,” he said.

After looking up the lineup, Gutierrez has been listening to Sainthood Reps, the opener, “religiously for the past two days,” he said.

Tickets can be purchased online at Ticketmaster for $10 excluding fees.

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