Oblongata destroys Chris’ Warped Records
Oblongata was one of the most remarkable bands to come out of Cleveland in the thirteen years I lived there.
Todd Pincombe and Anthony Vincent were on vocals, Joe Williams then Ben Parks sat on the drum throne, John Delzoppo was the bass player, Brendan Sedlak on guitar (John and Brendan later became Clan of the Cave Bear) and Matt Scarpitti was the other guitar.
But what to call the music these mild-mannered looking guys made?
Hyper intelligent thrash noise? Indie Black Metal? Power Violence Grindcore? Uhh, “Screamo”? (I almost forgot about that one.) Or all of the above?
While I’m not sure what genre to drop Oblongata into (a good thing from my POV), I can say that their sound flipped—seemingly randomly—between Category 5 hurricane force and total silence, and the story it told was one no one in Northeast Ohio was telling in the same way at that time.
And that was: HUMANS BEWARE—extreme danger ahead!
Oblongata were prescient—this must be acknowledged. They called out the 21st Century before it had a chance to bum us all out.
Some artists and musicians are visionaries.
Oblongata’s John Delzoppo recently helped answer some lingering questions about the band and this event:
When and where did Oblongata form?
Early 2000 in Rocky River. Joe and Brendan were sixteen and recorded a five-song demo tape with Pete Levine on bass. He left the band and I took his place in March 2000. We started playing shows in April. Nick Rittenour was on second guitar for the first few shows, but none of the recordings. There were a bunch of lineup changes from there, but that’s probably excessive detail for now.
From my photos below, I can tell this was post-Joe Williams (aka White Williams) on drums… So was this 2002?
This show was Sunday March 24, 2002 [with NYC’s Helen Of Troy and Heston Rifle also billed -SC], about two months before the band broke up. Flier attached, made by me, shamelessly stealing from Butthole Surfers. Joe left the band in August 2001, so Ben put down the guitar and learned how to play drums and we were back with a new lineup the next month. Matt took his spot on second guitar. He’s crouched down in a lot of the photos because he would run loops and stuff during the between song noise sections.
It was an afternoon show, right?
It was a 6pm show because that was the general policy at Chris’ Warped. Whenever they hosted shows they were either matinees or early evening so neighbors in the upstairs apartments wouldn’t complain.
Was this at Chris’ Warped because Speak In Tongues had closed?
Can’t say for certain, but yeah probably because SIT was closed and we had to find new options. We were so used to booking/playing SIT that once it disappeared we didn’t have any pull at the established venues, and Warped was just a simple plan B. Matt worked there so it was easy to get a date on the calendar and just run it DIY-style.
Here’s SIX years of Speak In Tongues photos, clippings & stories from my collection
Does Oblongata have any music or videos online currently?
No… but there are lots of things collecting dust in the archives. Who knows what may happen…
Hmm sounds intriguing. Do you have photos / video / audio from this show?
Yes! They’re taken by Brian Clagett. You can actually see him with his camera out in one of your shots, the one where Ben is on drums looking at you.
Notice how I took a photo from this show for my April 27th show poster starring Misty Martinez, Whales and Oblongata at Pat’s in the Flats (I’ll post more about that one real soon).
Yes, as you can tell from the pics, this show was packed beyond belief into a minuscule space with lots of record cases and immovable shit that made things more sardine-like and dangerous-feeling.
It was like being caught between a firing squad (Oblongata) and an insane mob (everyone who was moshing, in actuality probably not insane… but who knows?).
I walked out feeling cleansed and hopeful for the future, despite (because of?) the heavy portentous sounds Oblongata made as they bulldozed over us.
The kids were alright—and it was okay for me to leave for L.A. They had this on lock (they did, it was true).
Here are my pics, with some from Brian Clagett at the end (thank you, Brian, and thank you, John):
Here’s everything I’ve posted about Speak In Tongues; Oblongata was definitely part of that scene
U.S. Rocker chronicled Cleveland bands, happenings & people—download all the issues for free
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