I spent some time last weekend contemplating how I would approach this live review. Let me put it this way: It’s much, much easier to write a negative review than a positive one. A negative review merely requires explaining why something sucked, and that’s usually pretty easy to do. A positive review, on the other hand, requires an extreme amount of dexterity. If you gush too much, readers quickly discount the comments as yet another example of where a writer is a friend of the band and/or was boozed up when s/he wrote the review. Well, it’s Monday morning and I’m not boozed up and I don’t even know who is in UUVVWWZ. So with a clear head and no reservations, I make the following statements:
1. UUVVWWZ is the best local band I’ve heard play live in a couple years.
2. If I owned a record label, I would pay to record and release their music. It’s the only local band (signed or not) for which I can make that statement.
I should just stop right there.
But I won’t. My original plan for Friday night was to go to The Saddle Creek Bar and catch UUVVWWZ and then high-tail it over to O’Leaver’s for the Diplomats/Diplomettes of Solid Sound. I never made it to O’Leaver’s, however, because UUVVWWZ was slotted to play last. It crossed my mind to just leave and catch them some other time. The only reason I was there was because I’d heard raves on starcityscene and Omahype. So I stayed and watched their fellow Lincoln bands, Car Then Cars and Crush the Clown, play their sets of relatively straight-up indie rock. Nice stuff. It was somewhat crowded early in the evening — between 80 and 90 people, huge for a SCB show. But by the time UUVVWWZ hit the stage, half the crowd had left. They missed the best part of the night.
Their set started bluesy and turned punk right before our eyes. The beginning was Cowboy Junkies (dripping slacker-rock energy) meets Cat Power (full-on bluesy grit) meets Helium (unpredictable, wonky psychedelic vocal melodies). Their chief advantage is that every member of the 4-piece is exceptionally, brazenly talented. Amazing guitar, amazing rhythm section. Frontwoman “Teal” is a spazzed-out version of Chan Marshall, using every inch of her range to fill every corner of every tripped-out melody. Their style shifted mid-set away from bluesy psychedelic indie rock to raucous post-punk that bordered on New Wave — i.e. Siouxsie meets 77/More Songs-era Talking Heads, wherein Teal could just as soon chirp as sing as scream — and I loved every second of it.
Afterward I heard mixed reviews from a couple guys in back. One well-known local scenester who’s famous for his love of all things Jehu/RftC/Hot Snakes gave the band a pass, saying it didn’t “rock enough” for him. Fine. Another guy compared them to Deerhoof, which I can see, though I generally disagree with (While both bands do have female vocalist and play no-wave flavored sometimes-experimental indie rock, UUVVWWZ has more cohesive (and better) melodies). I told these two fellow critics my opinion and they looked at me like I was crazy.
I’d tell you to judge for yourself but they only have a few rough demos on their myspace page, which seems to indicate that they haven’t done much recording. It’s time they did. Your next chance to catch them in Omaha is Feb. 20 at Slowdown when they’re playing with The Show Is the Rainbow and So Many Dynamos. You should go and then tell me afterward if I’m hearing things or if they really are the first great hope for the next generation of local music (or if I’m full of sh**).
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