Live Review: Coyote Bones, Someday Stories; Now Archimedes!, The Protoculture and Bombardment Society Saturday…
The first time you see a band (or in this case, the first time the band has ever performed in front of an audience) you naturally try to make comparisons to bands you think influenced their sound. Such was the case last night at O’Leaver’s when Coyote Bones celebrated its stage debut in front of a packed house of notorious Omaha music scene Glitterati. Talk about pressure. Are comparisons straight-out-of-the-box fair? No, probably not. So I won’t go into detail about the conversation I had with the guy leaning along the rail next to me about how the lead singer’s pained (in a good way) howl reminded me of a certain blond lead singer of a seminal
’90s grunge band (my cohort thought his howl reminded him of Greg Dulli, and that was right on as well) or how their songs had an essence of ’90s alt-pop rock a la Buffalo Tom and, for me anyway, laid-back Nirvana as in their classic MTV Unplugged album (and a band out of Kansas called Vitreous Humor, who my cohort knew all too well but didn’t recognize in their sound).
No, making a list of comparisons wouldn’t be fair. Instead, let me describe them this way: Coyote Bones had a distinctive Midwestern ’90s indie rock sound that comes from growing up around here, whether the band members did or not. The line-up included a shaggy front man on acoustic guitar, an electric guitar player who also added keyboards to a couple songs, a bass player and drummer. That acoustic guitar, however, was the essence of the ensemble, along with the singer’s tweedy, earthy rasp. Favorite song of the night was a tune titled “39 Forever,” which epitomized a style that mixes that acoustic guitar with a strong, central bass line (again, I’m reminded of that famous acoustic Nirvana set).
One other characteristic that I think was absolutely central and essential: Their songs were all short, only two to three minutes long. No drawn-out solos, no repetitious rhythm orgies, just well-crafted tunes played long enough to get the point across. I can’t tell you how much I dug the fact that their songs were so well-contained and complete.
For the final number, our frontman put down the acoustic and strapped on a bass, while the bass player picked up another electric guitar for a rock song that was tough and sweaty like something right out of the ’70s.
I stayed long enough to see Someday Stories’ take on angular indie rock. Their first two songs had that same 1-2-THREE, da-da-WOMP da-da-WUMP sound that Criteria is known for, in fact the frontman even sort of sounded like Stephen Petersen. The Criteria comparison waned as they continued with a set of very heavy, very indie-sounding rock clearly influenced by bands like Cursive, Fugazi and Archers of Loaf. They were at their best when they strayed from the usual convention and allowed themselves to stretch out, like on their set closer.
I headed home before the touring band took the stage (some of us had to work in the morning). By then, half the crowd had left, too. I guess you could say The Living Blue had been Omaha’d.
So what’s in store for the weekend? The highlight is Saturday night, again at O’Leaver’s, where the lineup includes Now Archimedes!, The Protoculture and Bombardment Society, who are unveiling their sound with new bassist Lincoln Dickison — yes, that Lincoln Dickison, the one in The Monroes. For $5 (and starting at 9:30) this will be SRO.
Sunday night at O’Leaver’s is almost as good, with The Photo Atlas, Hot IQ’s and The Stay Awake. The draw could be hampered by X and Henry Rollins down at Sokol Auditorium.
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