This week’s column is some new stuff combined with rehash from last week’s blog entries. Pick and choose, etc. The big news is at the top …
Column 192: Faciinatiing Opportunity
The Show Is the Rainbow added to Faint tour.
The last time we checked in with Darren Keen he was discussing the 5-year anniversary of his project, The Show Is the Rainbow, while dining on CiCi’s over his lunch break at Homer’s.
Despite such low-rent eating habits, Keen has carved out an impressive career in music, thanks to a solid discography and a willingness to live for weeks at a time on the road playing his unique brand of trippy, experimental indie rock as only he can — on the floor and in your face.
His persistence is paying off in what may be the biggest break of his career. The Show Is the Rainbow has been asked to be the opener for The Faint, who are on the road supporting Faciinatiion, their new self-released album currently sitting at No. 7 on the CMJ radio top-200. Keen’s leg of the tour begins Oct. 19 at The Blue Note in Columbia, Missouri, and takes him to Nashville, Athens, New Orleans, Memphis, Oklahoma City, Boulder and Albuquerque, before ending Nov. 1 in Tempe, Arizona. It’s the kind of tour every Omaha band dreams about — playing in sold-out, medium-sized venues filled with The Faint’s insanely rabid fans. Keen said his booking agent, Panache Rock out of California, lined up the tour with The Faint’s booking agent (presumably Brian Cohen of William Morris Agency).
The timing couldn’t have been any better. Keen just finished recording his new album, Wet Fist, at his storage-room studio inside The Faint’s Enamel Studio. Mixed by The Faint’s Joel Petersen, the full-length will be released on Retard Disco Records. “They are from L.A., home to really good like-minded weirdo shit,” Keen said of his new label. The vinyl version of the album will be released on S.A.F. Records, who released Keen’s last album, Gymnasia. To help get momentum rolling for the February release, Retard Disco is pressing a sampler of new material to be given away at shows.
Keen said money made from the tour will help offset debt he’s accumulated from booking flights for his European tour that begins the day after he gets back from The Faint tour. The Europe shows will feature These Arms Are Snakes, Russian Circles and Bad Dudes, “plus my own headlining shows in Norway, where I now am a total pimp,” he said, adding that he snagged the same Scandinavian booking agent as Metallica and KISS after playing a festival there.
Could this upcoming Faint tour be Keen’s ticket out of CiCi’s buffet line? “I don’t know what it’ll mean for my career, but it will be really fun,” he said.
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Looks like Lincoln Calling had its most successful year ever. The five-day event held in Lincoln the weekend before last featured arguably the best line-up at any local festival. Lincoln Calling organizer Jeremy Buckley said the numbers were impressive.
“We had attendance of close to 2,300 overall, with 10 shows having attendance of more than 100,” he said. “Band payout was in the neighborhood of $8,500, and sound guys made $1,300 last weekend. I wish I could do the math and see what kind of money the crowds generated for downtown Lincoln, because if everyone spent $20 on top of the cost of their ticket on food and beer and such, that’s 40K. Big numbers.”
Indeed. Buckley, who has been doing Lincoln Calling since 2005, said he intended to “slow down” after this year’s festival, “but it was the first year that I genuinely felt that a lot of non-regulars supported shows at all of the venues involved,” he said. “It was a very community-oriented event, and I think rather than tone it down next year I’ll just figure out how to involve a group of people (to be) in charge of different aspects of the weekend.” Here’s to Lincoln Calling ’09.
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Speaking of noteworthy tours, while glancing at the Saddle Creek Records tour schedules on their website, I noticed that there’s an Azure Ray concert scheduled for The Troubadour in Los Angeles on Nov. 30. The duo of Maria Taylor and Orenda Fink had played together for 13 years prior to their split in 2005. Now three years later, they’re back together again, at least for one night.
Saddle Creek Records label chief Robb Nansel said the concert is a “one-off for now,” but added, “Hopefully it leads to more stuff.” While I’ve enjoyed Maria’s and Orenda’s solo and band projects, none of them reached the level of their Azure Ray output. Could this be the beginning of a long-term thing? Only time will tell. Hey Robb, when are we going to get that reunion on Slowdown’s stage?
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Finally, a bit of nostalgia: My all-time favorite concert film was released for the first time on DVD this past Tuesday — U2’s Live at Red Rocks. And with it comes an accompanying live album, a remastered version of Under a Blood Red Sky, a record that captured U2 at its creative zenith, when the band was still young and angry and everything they did felt important. Filmed during a rainstorm at Denver’s Red Rocks Amphitheater on June 5, 1983, the DVD captures a break-neck performance of their best songs from the pre-Unforgettable Fire years (Boy, War, October) including five previously unreleased live cuts, a director’s commentary, digitally re-graded pictures and a 5.1 mix. Never has this material sounded so good, and never again will this band be so relevant. Some things, it seems, don’t improve with age.
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There’s a handful of interesting shows going on tonight.
The Waiting Room is hosting a trio of dusty psychedelic bands including Secretly Canadian act Catfish Haven, Athens band Dead Confederate and Awesome Color. $10, 9 p.m.
Meanwhile, The Barley St. has a trio of punk acts headlined by The Yuppies, with The Dinks and Black Time. $?, 9 p.m.
And finally, down at Slowdown Jr., it’s the return of Kayo Dot with Omaha noise rock duo The Lepers and the sound art of Fathr. $7, 9 p.m.
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