Update, Dec. 20: Thee Oh Sees have posted a note to their website saying that they are "not breaking up," just going through a "transitional period," that they will release a new LP in early 2014, and that "we will see where the live show goes from there." Read it below:
DEAR OH SEES FANS,
THANK YOU FOR ALL YOUR SUPPORT.
THE BAND IS NOT BREAKING UP.
THIS IS JUST A WELL DESERVED BREAK AND A TRANSITIONAL PERIOD.
A NEW THEE OH SEES LP WILL BE OUT EARLY 2014
AND WE WILL SEE WHERE THE LIVE SHOW GOES FROM THERE...
UNTIL THEN, BE WELL
Original post, Dec. 19: Last night, Thee Oh Sees played yet another blistering show to a sold-out Great American Music Hall. In between songs, frontman John Dwyer said something alarming: "This will be the last Oh Sees show for a long while," he told the crowd. "So dig in."
Sadly, he wasn't kidding: Dwyer is leaving San Francisco for L.A., and Thee Oh Sees are taking an indefinite hiatus, multiple sources tell SF Weekly today.
"They need a break after 5 years straight, so yes ... hiatus time," Annie Southworth, the band's booking agent, tells us via email. "Will be a little hard to continue with all the different locales so who know what is going to happen... Cross fingers, we all are that it's not completely over."
There are currently no plans for future Oh Sees shows, and it's not clear whether the band will reunite in the future, Southworth says. No plans will be made until after Dwyer finishes moving from S.F. to L.A.
"He's been living in the Mission on 17th and Valencia, and watching that neighborhood as well as the city transform has been enough for him," Southworth writes. "He's over it."
Dwyer isn't the only one leaving. While bass guitarist Petey Dammit and drummer Mike Shoun are staying in the city, keyboardist and vocalist Brigid Dawson is leaving for Santa Cruz, according to Southworth. With the members soon to be scattered around California, the future of the band seems very much in doubt. But Southworth says it's not clear yet just what "hiatus" will mean for Thee Oh Sees.
Regardless, it will mark the end of a remarkable period for a band that has in the last few years grown from hometown favorite to fixture on the national (and international) independent rock scene. In October, Thee Oh Sees kicked off a U.S. tour with three sold-out nights at the Chapel, the first of which showed a band at the height of its powers, sending a room into fits of joyful chaos.
Thee Oh Sees have also helped foster a thriving rock underground here in the Bay Area, supporting artists like Ty Segall (who moved to L.A. earlier this year), Matthew Melton of Bare Wires and Warm Soda, Mikal Cronin, and Greer McGettrick of the Mallard, to name just a few. This while touring internationally and releasing new music at a breakneck pace. The band's latest album, April's Floating Coffin, was awarded an 8.0 on Pitchfork and won "universal acclaim" according to Metacritic.
Thee Oh Sees began as side project of Dwyer's in the early 2000s, and has evolved through many iterations. Here's hoping this isn't the last of them.