I generally try to get live reviews online the morning after the show, but I was pressed this weekend for other things and never had a chance. That said, I did go out both Friday and Saturday nights. Here’s what happened:
Friday was Edith Frost/The Zincs down at Sokol Underground. What a disappointing turnout. I was one of around 40 people there. The Underground never seemed so empty. One guy I talked to wanted to leave because he was so embarrassed by the whole thing. Why wasn’t this show at O’Leaver’s? Maybe because the promoters understandably thought that bands of this quality would bring out throngs of Omaha music fans that can differentiate between good music and schlock (Note, Pomoroy was playing upstairs in the Auditorium). I guess they were wrong.
I missed the opener, McCarthy Trenching, but caught most of The Zincs’ set — very earthy, very moody rock with a frontman who’s voice was low and smoky. It’s the kind of band that you could imagine breaking through the indie-rock glass ceiling to bigger things. Very cool.
Then Edith was up. Backed by members of The Zincs, she uncorked a nice set of songs from her new album along with plenty of older material. Though generally twangier, her music reminds me a lot of Liz Phair, the difference being that Edith can actually sing. She didn’t seem to mind playing to a mostly empty room. Maybe it was the lack of people or the distraction of the UConn game on TV at the bar, but I never locked into her performance, as good as it was.
Saturday night was Western Electric at O’Leaver’s, along with The Pendrakes. Very packed house. O’Leaver’s is now packed just about any night they have a band (but you have to keep that in perspective — packed for O’Leaver’s means 60 to 75 people — the Edith Frost show would have seemed packed in there). I showed up just in time to catch the last couple of Pendrakes songs, which sounded like generic pop-punk to me. I need to see a whole set to make any judgments. Western Electric, fronted by Scott Roth (of Such Sweet Thunder fame) has only been playing together six months. You wouldn’t have known it by listening to them. They had the presence and sound of a veteran rock band. Yeah, they’re twangy… sort of. But their style is closer to classic chug-a-lug Americana bar stomp rock (think Anonymous American for comparisons). One guy in back said they reminded him of Jeff Tweedy. I didn’t hear it. And while the band was amazingly tight, it was Roth that was impossible to ignore — he has a ’90s grunge croon that recalls Pearl Jam or the dozens of bands that aped Pearl Jam back then — a style fans of Such Sweet Thunder will immediately recognize and remember. They played a long set for never having recorded a CD. Roth said they’re currently in the process of recording some of their material, and to look for some more gigs in the near future.
Tonight, Reggie and the Full Effect with Fluxuation and Common Denominator at Sokol Underground. Reggie’s on Vagrant. Used to be that was all you needed to say and you knew what you were in for. But now The Hold Steady is on Vagrant, and that’s thrown everything out of whack. I guess now I have to say Reggie sounds like old-school Vagrant. You know what I mean. $12, 9 p.m.
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