This is more of a review of The Goofy Foot than Eux Autres, but I’ll get to them in the course of things. I’d never been to “The Goofy” before. I knew that it was in the old Neon Goose building on 10th St. just before Pacific. I’d been in the Stork Club once back when fake swing was all the rage (If you missed Omaha’s “swing revival,” you missed nothing. Few things are more repulsive than fake swing). First off, where to park? There is no parking lot that I could find. That leaves 10th St. — not a bad option since traffic was sparse when I got there. I parked across the street from what I hoped was the bar. There was no sign on the outside, just a lot of brushed aluminum that stands out next to the gray of the darkened adjacent building (which, I guess, was actually the old Stork Club).
The “no-sign” policy was an indication of what lied within. I think The Goofy is going for that whole Manhattan-lounge thing, but on an extreme budget. The place was dark-dark but not pitch. I was told last night that the building is one of the oldest in the city, a throwback to the old rail station days. Despite the lighting, it still had plenty of Old World flavor. My recollection of things seen: oak floors, tin ceiling, oak paneling and exposed brick, ceiling fans, a Soundgarden concert poster, lots of draped cloth (sheets, Don’t Tread on Me flag, bolts of black cloth draped above the stage, etc.). Split down the middle, the south half of the bar is divided by an exposed-brick structured wall where there are a couple pool tables and booths. The north side has tall tables and the serving bar. The defining element, of course, is the second-hand furniture scattered all about — easy chairs and couches of dirty cloth and leather, no two matching, arranged haphazardly and used to fill in open corners.
Which brings us to the “stage,” because there is no real stage at The Goofy Foot. Instead, a space has been cleared in the back of the room where overhead hangs a couple amps. Directly in front of where the band plays sits a large square coffee table covered with ashtrays and candles surrounded by couches and crappy wingback chairs. This poor-man’s living room ensemble creates a natural barrier between the band and the bar tables further back.
The place was packed and I had no idea where to stand except behind the couch (but in front of the rest of the seated patrons). I saw a couple people I knew and asked if it was okay to stand there. “Sure,” they said. I don’t know if I was in the way or not — I suspect I was, though no one seemed to care. If there’s one quality about The Goofy that stands out, it’s the laid-back crowd: I felt like I was smack in the middle of the hipster/indie nation — a world that I know I’ll never really be cool enough to inhabit. But that’s okay, the citizens are willing to tolerate me even though I look like an off-duty cop.
A few other things before I get to Eux Autres: Though they have ceiling fans, there’s no ventilation. The Goofy is in the same league as The Brothers and O’Leaver’s in regards to smoke — you’ll be stripping down when you get home. My Rolling Rock set me back $3.25 — which puts it in the middle of a market where Rocks are $3 at O’Leaver’s and either $3.50 or $2.50 at Sokol Underground (depending on who’s behind the bar). I’m not sure why Omaha bars consider Rolling Rock a premium beer. It isn’t. Not by a long shot. On the East Coast it’s considered an Old Style / Olympia-type beer. Here it’s treated like Samuel Adams.
So I got there at a quarter to 11, just before the Larimers took up instruments. Heather in her retro dress looked like Parker Posey sitting behind the drum set, while brother Nick was dressed in a suit and tie, probably because their parents were crouched somewhere among the scenesters. They played most of the songs from their CD, along with a cover of B. Adams’ “Summer of ’65.” It was kicky fun, though most folks just seemed to slouch and stare at the band (a couple girls next to me were dancing). I’m not sold on guitar-and-drum-only combos. It was like sitting in a forest of shimmering midrange. I yearned for bass, though there was no bass to be had, and considering the style of music they play (K Records indie mixed with retro-Zombies garage rock) there really isn’t a reason not to have a bass except that they don’t want to deal with a third band member. A second guitar would also be cool, but not a deal-breaker. As a two-piece, they’re interesting and fun but unnecessarily minimal to the point of lacking. I asked the guy next to me if he missed not having a bass. “Who cares. I’m watching the drummer.” Nuff said.
What’s up this weekend?
Tonight it’s the newly named Virgasound (formerly known as The Philharmonic) with Ideal Cleaners and The Jealous Lovers at O’Leaver’s. $5, 9:30 p.m.
Sunday it’s Of Montreal and The Management in what could end be a sold-out show at Sokol Underground. $10, 9 p.m. But if that doesn’t float your boat, check out One Mummy Case at The Pizza Shoppe in Benson. The 7 p.m. show is free. Might as well go to both.
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