LYNCH / OHM: (Live)

at Galaxy Theatre, Santa Ana, California, USA, December 23, 2005

LYNCH / OHM: (Live at Galaxy Theatre, Santa Ana, California, USA, December 23, 2005)
Photo: Sean Green

Two nights before Christmas and all through the house, not a sign of the Grinch — just rockin’ with Lynch!!! On December 23, 2005, George Lynch was the epitome of guitar godliness and showmanship in Santa Ana, California, at the Galaxy Concert Theatre, which hosted the final show of a 25-gig U.S.A. tour that George and the boys hammered out in only 28 days.


Opening for Lynch was Chris Poland (Megadeth, Lamb of God) and his Fusion trio, OHM: (spelled with a colon). The band features Poland on guitar, Robertino Pagliari on six-string fretless bass, and Kofi Baker on drums. In support of their third release, Amino Acid Flashback (2005, Blacknote Records), OHM: performed their own brand of instrumental music, demonstrating Jazz sophistication with a heavy, electric Rock feel. The genius of OHM: is the way they brilliantly and uniquely integrate the Jazz and Rock genres without digressing into the pretentious vacuum of gobbledygook commonly and euphemistically referred to as “experimental” music. OHM: choose to carve out compositions that are edgy and angular, but at the same time melodic and comprehensible, making them accessible to listeners ranging from Jazz nerds to Metalheadz. The crowd was accordingly accepting this night and applauded OHM: throughout their 40-minute set.

As always with OHM:, fans were treated to new embellishments of familiar songs. Poland stretched out a good deal during his solos this night, although not to his fullest potential, compared with numerous previous performances. His melodic flights outdid his speed runs. Pagliari’s command over the six-string fretless bass was astounding. While he was more conservative than he can be with the wah-wah pedal, his speed and energy were on high, as was his singing on the customary Blues number that closed out their set.

In the middle of the seventh of nine songs, when Poland’s guitar rig cut out, the audience was treated to an impromptu drum solo by Baker. Without missing a beat, Kofi went on for about six minutes while the guitar rig underwent surgery to have its bad unit extracted. Kofi’s intelligent rhythmic variations and skillful articulation made him highly entertaining.

Besides the inventive interplay between the three band members, a special guest took part in the improvisation: performance artist/painter Neal Barbosa. Barbosa took up brushes, CDs, a toilet plunger, and an assortment of other instruments to create visual accompaniment on the canvas. Barbosa “soloed” in time with the music, creating some remarkable paintings before the audience’s very eyes. Poland particularly enjoyed interacting with the painter during some of his solos.

OHM: deservingly held the audience’s attention with their unique style and high caliber of musicianship and craftiness. Their consistently impressive live performances prove themselves worthy of a headlining tour of their own.

OHM Setlist:
Terra Incognita
Amino Acid Flashback
Da Vinci
You Don’t Know
Compass of the Heart + drum solo
Where’s My Hat
Sitting on Top of the World


The Galaxy Concert Theatre was an ideal venue for Lynch. It was large enough to realize the full force of his Royal Riffness, but intimate enough to capture the nuances of the seasoned Mr. Lynch, the extended soloist. The venue accommodates several hundred people comfortably, and offers the option of table and dinner reservations along with the freedom to move into the pit.

The crowd was most responsive to the Dokken tunes, singing along with “Alone Again” and “It’s Not Love.” In addition to other favorites by Dokken and Lynch Mob, the band played “If God Could Hear Me Now,” from George’s new double-release, The Lost Anthology (November 2005, Dead Line Music). But if one song captured the depth of George’s style, that song was an extended, instrumental version of “Breath & A Scream” (Lynch/Pilson: Wicked Underground, 2003, Eagle Rock Entertainment), most probably the highlight of the concert for guitar enthusiasts. George’s guitar tone on that song had a fair amount of blazing distortion and yet was so sweet and glassy at the same time. George’s intense and soulful phrasing killed everyone softly, and, from the looks of the people in the audience, they were submitting fully.

Other crowd pleasers included the instrumental “Mr. Scary,” during which George did a fair amount of improvising. His guitar tech provided backing guitar (and, on other songs, backing vocals) inconspicuously from behind the guitar rack. During the first half of the Lynch Mob song “For a Million Years,” Lynch and singer Andrew Freeman played acoustic guitars, and then Lynch turned to the electric for the climactic ending.

Freeman had plenty of energy throughout the show, enough to fall off the stage at one point and then get back up and continue unscathed. He had enough power and range to cover the vocal duties, but where tone and stylization are concerned, he did not measure up to singers George has worked with in the past. At the beginning of “Smoke This” — the song with the Rap vocal — Freeman, without provocation, forewarned the audience that the band likes this song, and that whether or not the audience likes it, “we don’t give a shit.” After the song, George joked that they probably should have called the Smoke This album “Lynch Bizkit.”

Freeman was adamant throughout the show about reminding the audience in one way or another that they weren’t enthusiastic enough, by his standards. Although he was basically good-natured, his frequent solicitation of attention and applause became an annoying distraction. The crowd was in fact into the music and was often standing in awe of Lynch’s guitar pyrotechnics and his lively demeanor.

Marten Andersson and Vinny Appice were tight on bass and drums, respectively, but the performances were not particularly noteworthy. Actually, in light of OHM:’s performance, these gents were rather anticlimactic. George, however, had more than enough guitar chops and stage presence to compensate for the others.

Late in the set, Lynch didn’t flinch when apparently one of his speakers blew out, causing some unwanted distortion for a minute or two until the crew was able to locate the problem and remove the speaker cabinet. George seemed oblivious to outside distractions but played to the crowd all night, from one end of the stage to the other.

In summary, George was absolutely on fire throughout the two-hour set, in terms of both playing and stage presence. His execution was accurate, his tone incredible, his demeanor in high spirits. Not only was this show one of his best performances, it was one of the best performances by any guitarist, by any standard.

Lynch Set List:
Unchain the Night
Dance of the Dogs
When Heaven Comes Down
Breath & a Scream
River of Love
For a Million Years
Alone Again
It’s Not Love
Lightning Strikes
Wicked Sensation
Flesh and Blood
If God Could Hear Me Now
Mr. Scary
Smoke This
Into the Fire
Drum Solo
Tooth and Nail
Kiss of Death
Just Got Lucky


  • Jason Sagall

    Jason was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio. He was born in Illinois and currently reside in California, USA, where he works in the field of Information Technology, and is a freelance web consultant His favorite Rock and Metal subgenres include Classic, Progressive, and Power. He is a guitar fanatic and listen to a lot of Instrumental Rock and Fusion. Jason has been playing guitar as a hobby for some 25 years.  

    View all posts

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.