You know you’ve just seen a great band when you forgot to pay attention to them in a journalistic sort of way and just LISTENED to them. Such was the case last night for NOMO at O’Leaver’s. Seven people on “stage” (I know I reported that they’re a 10-piece — hey, that’s what Warn Defever told me) including a bari and tenor sax, two trumpets, two percussionists, a bass player and keyboards (I didn’t see/hear a guitar). I don’t know a thing about “afro-beat” music. I do know that I dug what I heard last night — intricate horn charts played over intricate rhythms that pulsed with a dirty global beat. Think Fear of Music through Speaking in Tongues-era Talking Heads, then add plenty of funky brass. The guy next to me mentioned Fela Kuti, who I will now have to research further. To say it was celebratory would be an understatement — O’Leaver’s glowed. Though the horn lines were well-charted, there was plenty of room for the saxophones to stray into freeform improvs. They ended their set playing a song while parading through the bar, ending up in a chanting circle right in front of where I sat by the door. There was a sense that we were seeing and hearing something special that we never seem to see and hear around these parts, and should more often.
Three NOMOs joined Warn Defever and Andy FM for His Name Is Alive (including the tenor sax player who set his horn down to play keyboards). How do you follow that sort of organic, exuberant explosion of a performance? You showcase Defever’s white-knuckle guitar work. His style that spanned everything from metal to acid rock to avant gard to drone. For obvious reasons the music didn’t have as much of an hypnotic effect on the 100 or so on hand as NOMO had. Still, a great set, a diversion from the usual indie-rock schtick and something that we rarely get to see in Omaha.
Tonight, again at O’Leaver’s, The Protoculture with Lincoln’s Her Flyaway Manner. I’ve been told by Protoculture drummer/vocalist Koly Walter that the band has worked up a version of “My New Laugh,” my favorite of their repertoire that they didn’t perform at their comeback show last March. Again, the chorus: “My new laugh / My new laugh/ My new laugh / My new laugh / MY NEW LAUGH WILL KILL YOUR SMILE.” Be there. 9:30, $5.
Also tonight, Mal Madrigal is playing at The Pizza Shoppe (which is now called PS Collective). $5, 9 p.m. Meanwhile, at The 49’r, it’s The Diplomats of Solid Sound, The Bent Scepters and Springhill Mine Disaster. No idea on price. They usually get things rolling at around 10 p.m.
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