The Shanks are this close — this close — to being one of those bands that people go to see just to see what’ll happen. They’re not quite there yet. They still need to push over that little hump that divides confusion and chaos. Ah, but it’s a tiny leap. Their set last Friday night at a mostly full Saddle Creek Bar was a big, blurry mess highlighted by ear-piercing feedback that simply would not go away. I asked someone in the crowd if they thought something was wrong with the sound system. No, nothing’s wrong, he said, that’s what they’re going for. I turned around and noticed a half-dozen people with fingers in their ears (thank god for my earplugs). Their brief set was a howling buzz-drone of hardcore-tinged noise-punk thrown together and sloppy. The highlight was when the towering drummer came from behind this drumset to sing the last couple songs leaning into a microphone that was only about 4 feet high while everyone else in the band stumbled around pounding on their instruments. They knew what they were feeding the audience — an audience that wanted more — just that much more.
In extreme contrast was The Box Elders, featuring Clayton and Jeremiah McIntyre — the Brothers McIntyre — on bass, guitar and vocals, and Dave Goldberg on drums and organ. Unlike the last time I saw the trio at O’Leaver’s, I could actually hear Dave’s organ during the set. He punched out a counter melody with one hand and played the drumset with his other three limbs. Their music is propelled purely by its rhythms, and if it had been anywhere else but Omaha, the crowd would have been dancing instead of standing in front of the stage nodding their heads. This is fun-loving garage music with a groovy beat and a cutting sense of punk style that would be right at home at the coolest wedding reception in the world.
In other news…
Websites for the two newest, yet-to-open clubs in town went online in the last couple of weeks. Slowdown, the Saddle Creek Records music hall/bar in downtown Omaha, put up this website (at www.theslowdown.com) that is nothing more than a countdown to their grand opening June 8 (if my math is correct, and it probably isn’t). Other than the clock, there’s nothing to see. Meanwhile, just as cryptic is the new Waiting Room website (at www.waitingroomlounge.com) that sports the message “Keep Waiting.” Keep an eye on both sites, I have a feeling they will be updated shortly.
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