Weekend wrap-up: Monroes, Midwest Dilemma, Alessi; Simon Joyner tonight…

Category: Blog — @ 7:06 pm March 3, 2008

I never get tired of seeing The Monroes. I’ve been watching Gary Dean Davis in his various incarnations since the good ol’ Frontier Trust days. That whole rowdy tractor-punk shtick never wears thin, nor does watching Davis bounce around like a giant Mexican jumping bean, tightly grasping a microphone, seed cap firmly planted on his enormous head. Hearing him yell “Thanks!” at the end of every song is like an Omaha punk-rock rite of passage. May he and the rest of the band continue doing it into their 80s.

What about the rest of the show Friday night (Ladyfinger, The Coffin Killers)? Well, I missed it. I intended to come back to The Waiting Room, but never made it. I did, however, make it to the Waiting Room Saturday night to see the ever-expanding Midwest Dilemma. The band has ballooned to seven members, including a flute and tuba player; even a drummer (a first for these guys). The result was a set of ethereal chamber pop played to a lilting waltz beat. Few local artists have grown musically over the years as much as Justin Lamoureux, and I get the feeling that what we saw Saturday night was only the tip of the iceberg. The proof will come with the new CD, which he says will be in your hands in the next couple months. Afterward, a tour is in order. The music that I heard Saturday could just as easily be pulled off with his core band featuring Elizabeth Web on clarinet and vocals and David Downing on cello. The drummer, however, was a nice touch and should be part of any road crew. More to come. I was in the back for most of Jake Bellows’ set — him and an electric guitar. I get the feeling that Bellows could stand up there on stage and play his music for three solid hours and still keep his core fans’ mesmerized. Finally, there was Alessi, who’ve I’ve been hearing about for months. The Londoner has made Omaha her second home, and at the same time, made the Omaha music scene her second family. She played solo with guitar, and it’s fair to say that she could be London’s answer to Chan Marshall (though her voice sounds nothing like Chan’s). The most shocking moment of the night came when the lady next to me told me Alessi is only 17 years old. Her age and her obvious talent explains why EMI is backing her for the long run. Something tells me she’s bound to be a star.

* * *

Simon Joyner opens for Iowa City’s Samuel Locke-Ward (Miracles of God) tonight at O’Leaver’s. Ward’s got a new album out, recorded by Ed Gray, called Golden Favorites-Where Sobriety Is King, which you can check out at his Myspace page. 9:30 p.m. $5.

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