When I showed up last night at O’Leaver’s, Black Squirrels had just already begun their set of fun, laid-back, folky acoustic songs, the kind that would sound perfect played on a ukulele. Pleasant and unobtrusive, it’s stuff that your mom would love. I’m surprised these guys haven’t played at Mick’s yet. The crowd was clearly there to see them, cheering for an encore, which the trio gratefully provided. Ten minutes after they were done, half the crowd of family and friends left. Looks like the poor Pomonas got Omaha’d.
Then to my surprise, while the Pomonas were setting up, I glanced up at the TV and saw that Tilly and the Wall were going to be on Letterman. I had no idea that they were scheduled for last night’s show. A small group gathered around the TV while the O’Leaver’s soundman wired up a microphone to broadcast the program’s sound over the bar’s PA. The Letterman stage featured the three Tilly girls all standing on plywood platforms like Barbie dolls, as if all three were going to tap dance instead of just Jamie. It’s hard to say how good or bad it sounded. They played “Bad Education” from the new album, which was probably the wrong choice (but which of their songs would have been the right choice?). Actually, it did sound bad, but everyone sounds bad on Letterman. Jamie, Kianna and Neely looked flashy and theatrical. The guy next to me asked if they were Prince’s latest project. “Who are they supposed to be? Vanity 6?” They did sort of come off as a label creation, like a quirky, indie version of The Dixie Chicks. Nick White was hidden on stage, and it wasn’t until about halfway through that the cameras panned away from all the tight close-ups of the tap shoes and hips to reveal Derek Pressnall off to stage right playing guitar and singing. No idea who the bass player was, apparently someone new to the band. If you missed it, I’m sure someone will put it on YouTube eventually. Getting on Letterman is quite an accomplishment, and you gotta believe it’ll result in moving at least an additional 5,000 units.
After all that, on came The Pomonas, playing their usual brand of Lawrence-sounding indie rock (I know, I know, what the hell does “Lawrence-sounding” mean… there’s something about KC/Lawrence indie bands of this vein that reminds me of all those mid-’90s bands from down there that I used to dig). It was a fun, sloppy set enjoyed by the few who remained.
Tonight’s big show is Jolie Holland and Dave Dondero at Mick’s. Someone told me last night that ticket sales have been brisk, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it eventually sold out. $15, 9 p.m.
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