Ours | 7.14.12 — Firebird

gnecco sqI was able to see the band live in 2007 and again in 2008, each time stricken by how humble and gracious Gnecco and Co. were to the audience.

 

Eleven years ago by some strange twist of fate (or an allmusic.com “similar artist/influenced” listing), I found myself waiting for an ominous website to load. It was literally a dark and stormy night, and the AOL trial membership dial-up was matriculating at its usual mediocre rate. I can’t remember what brought me to www.ours.net initially, but as I stared at the striking photographs and read the biography and interviews that would serve as my introduction to the band, apparently the music stream for the page was downloading in the background. I was immersed in unraveling the mystery of who Ours was. The stylized period photography with somewhat gothic imagery drew me in, piqued my curiosity and—in the midst of the sensory deprivation induced by the dark, the monochromatic website with flashes of crimson, and the quietness—I was terror-struck when a thunderclap struck and nearly simultaneously the third measure of “Sometimes,” Ours’ debut single, roared through those diminutive PC speakers. In the years that have passed, through lineup and label changes, Ours have maintained that unique power to mesmerize and strike awe in the unsuspecting listener.

Much of the credit for Ours goes to Jimmy Gnecco: vocalist, guitar player, songwriter, and ringleader. Blessed and burdened by comparisons to Bono and Buckley, Gnecco has used three Ours albums and one solo release to carve out his own niche as an artist. After releasing two arguably brilliant discs in the span of 15 months in 2001 and 2002, Ours and/or Gnecco toured off and on, and didn’t release another album until 2008’s Mercy. To overcome the initial critical bias against Ours, witness their musical growth, and maintain hope that they weren’t finished, as a fan, you had to witness it live or locate bootlegs of shows, which the band permitted during that period. Proactive music fans were rewarded with performances consisting of 80 percent new material, all of it inspired by a band that was locked-in and loving it.

I was able to see the band live in 2007 and again in 2008, each time stricken by how humble and gracious Gnecco and Co. were to the audience. The band live out my experience on that dark and stormy night with every show, engaging your humanity directly, allowing you to lower your guard, then elevating your capacity for human experience by showering you in the brilliance of their talent and execution of it.

Ours have stayed active, the band members supporting Jimmy Gnecco on several tours behind his powerful solo album, The Heart, to such great effect that, a year after its 2010 release, they reissued the X edition of the album, featuring new arrangements performed by Ours collectively. In that same time, one can assume they began constructing the framework of Ballet the Boxer, the title of their current tour, and presumably their next album, which will be supported by a pledgemusic.com campaign. This bodes well for the curious fans eager to hear new material alongside the favorites, new and old alike. | Wil Smith

Ours plays the Firebird on Saturday, July 14. Tickets are $12 over 21/$15 under. Doors 8:30, show9:30 p.m. Animal Empty opens the show.

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