Ah, O’Leaver’s. The whole world could be changing around you, spinning off in all directions, but Omaha’s favorite hole-in-the-wall neighborhood-bar music venue never changes (and never will). It’s become somewhat renowned as a destination location for small-scale punk or indie rock shows. But not so much for acoustic-driven music like Champaign, Illinois’ Casados. A boy-girl, guitar-harmonium duo, their specialty is heartfelt indie-folk ballads that highlight their pretty harmonies. A perfect fit for Mick’s or an urban coffee house, but not Saturday night at O’Leaver’s. Especially after a drunk-bus pulls up and dumps off a dozen suburban meatheads who aren’t in the mood to feel Casados’ pain. After about 15 minutes of yelling to hear some Segar, the booze hounds stepped back on the bus and left. So did Casados.
The evening’s headliners, Norman, Oklahoma’s Traindodge, cancelled, I’m told because they were offered a higher-paying gig in Kansas City. That left only Thunder Power!!! Last time I saw these guys, they were a full-out indie rock band that included Lazy-i intern Brendan Greene-Walsh. Well, Brendan’s no longer in the ensemble, and Thunder Power!!! no longer is a full-out indie rock band. Their sound is low-key, low-fi, indie acoustic music (guitars, keyboards, drums, clarinet) in the manner of, say, early Sebadoh. As I said last week, making a clarinet work within the confines of a rock band is next to impossible, and Saturday night’s set proved my point. Whereas the clarinetists were talented, their toot-toot-tooting was out of place and too out front in the arrangements, just the opposite of Midwest Dilemma’s use of clarinet, which was subtle and merely supporting. A member of the band told me they only had a handful of practices before this gig, and are still searching for their sound. More to come.
Tonight at The Waiting Room, Detroit rockers Electric Six with Test Your Reflex and Night Kills the Day. Electric Six first made its mark with its critically heralded debut, Fire, on XL/Beggars in 2003. $13, 9 p.m.
Just an early heads-up that this is a particularly strong week for shows. I’ll be highlighting the best of them on the mornings of the gigs, but a quick rundown includes: Tuesday — Starlight Mints at Sokol Underground; Wednesday — Junior Boys at The Waiting Room (and Fromanhole at O’Leaver’s); Thursday — Mark Mallman at The Waiting Room. And it continues right on through the weekend. Expect to lose some sleep.
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