Live Review: Shanks, Cloven Path; Bareilles minus Hoshaw, Riggs tonight…

Category: Blog — @ 6:49 pm February 18, 2008

Remember that scene in The Ten Commandments, the one toward the end when Chuck Heston as Moses climbs Mount Sinai to have a chat with his pal God while everyone down below was letting loose with the mother of all orgies? Remember them dancing around in their underwear, throwing gold baubles at Dathan (as played by Edward G. Robinson) while Aaron made the golden calf? Well, it was kind of like that Friday night at O’Leaver’s for the first of two final performances of Cloven Path. Debauchery at its finest. Lecherous chaos. Gluttony and debasement. What a way to go.

First up was The Shanks playing a by-the-book, no-kill set of gutter-punk that was relatively flawless and in tune. You read that correctly. The Shanks came off as real pro’s — a disappointment to everyone who expects utter chaos and/or the usual bloody shock and awe. Instead it was almost run-of-the-mill. Downright efficient. And (dare I say it) professional. What’s wrong with this picture? They’ve always said their stage theatrics were never planned; the violence was the natural by-product of too much booze and pent-up anger. So when they do explode, it’s an honest explosion. I suspect the days of fist-fights and cymbal throwing are far from over. Until then, we’ll have to settle for their buzzsaw, feedback-ringing, hump-thump punk rock, and that’s good enough for me (for now).

The timidity would not continue with Cloven Path. The duo is headed to some place in the center of Texas, just a few hours from all the biggest cities. The reason for their departure was rumored by many, but told by no one (including me). Needless to say, they’ll do better in the Longhorn state. After what I saw and heard Friday night, Omaha doesn’t deserve them. It was their most unbridled set, and their best. Half-naked guitarist/frontman Sii wandered all over the bar, grinding both his guitar and any patron that would let him/herself be ground upon (and there were plenty), while drummer Noraa pounded out clever, oddly timed bombshells. Former vocalist Kat joined in on one song, proving that these guys never really needed a vocalist for their unique style of electro-metal. They do fine on their own, especially when they have a crowd writhing in utter pleasure among the filth and puke of O’Leaver’s. I watched in utter awe, thinking about what Omaha will do without its Cloven Path. I then climbed upon the railing, Rolling Rock in one hand, stone tablets in the other, and proclaimed, “Where is your messiah now?

Cloven Path apparently played another final show Saturday night at O’Leaver’s, but I didn’t go. In fact, that O’Leaver’s show was my only outing this weekend. I planned on going to The Waiting Room tonight to see Brad Hoshaw open for Sara Bareilles, but apparently Bareilles’ people insisted that there be no opening acts, and Hoshaw and Honey & Baby were dropped. On one hand, it’s a shame for Hoshaw who has been building some momentum recently; but on the other hand, few people other than myself were going to be there to see him anyway. I’ve listened to Bareilles’ music — it’s middle-of-the-road colorless, flavorless, inoffensive VH-1 “adult contemporary” dreck. Bland. The kind of blandness that sells hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of CDs to people who desperately crave music that they can ignore. Television commercial music. Shopping music. Greatest common denominator music. Pap. The last thing her fans want is to listen to something that’s intelligent, honest and emotionally moving. Like I said, Hoshaw is better off. Probably. Interestingly, he posted on SLAMOmaha this morning that he’s giving away at the door of the Bareilles show 50 copies of a six-song live EP recorded at Mick’s Jan. 5 (the show that I wrote a column about here a few weeks ago). There actually were nine songs performed and recorded that night. I have them all, and the collection is one of the best live albums I’ve heard around here in years. My guess is that none of the Bareilles zombettes will want one, so you may want to drop by The Waiting Room and see if the doorman will give you one. Why doesn’t Hoshaw peddle these at his shows? Actually, why doesn’t one of the more industrious local indie labels want to put it out?

That’s not the only show going on tonight. Omaha punk rock phenoms The Coffin Killers, along with dredge-rock masters Dim Light, are opening for Dax Riggs tonight at Slowdown Jr. Riggs used to be in Acid Bath back in the ’90s. $10, 9 p.m. There’s also a Todd Snider concert at Scottish Rite Hall. $18, 8 p.m.

By the way, the reviews matrix has been updated…

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