Live Review: O’Death, Triggertown; Bullets and Mohawks tonight…

Category: Blog — @ 7:44 pm November 14, 2008

There’s nothing more annoying than seeing someone texting during a show, I know this. That’s why I usually hide in a corner if I need to type out notes on my iPhone — I don’t want the band to think I’m so bored or jaded that I’m passing the time SMS’ing or Twittering or whatever (which reminds me of a story I heard about a Kansas City duo who were out on a coffee-shop tour. Their biggest problem — most people in the coffee shops didn’t know (or care) that they were going to be playing a set on a given afternoon/evening, so the duo often played to rooms filled with people drinking coffee, reading and listening to their iPods. Can anything be more demoralizing to a performer than someone sitting five feet away listening to an iPod?).

I mention this only because I did tap out some notes during last night’s O’Death show at The Waiting Room, but it didn’t matter where I stood because there were so few people there — maybe 40, which seems empty in TWR (especially when no one gets out of their chairs). O’Death wasn’t complaining — the band’s frontman, who looks and sounds just like David Cross (but with more hair), said they played to six people the night before in Iowa — and that all six were in the opening band. Life on the road can be lonely, especially on your first trip “out west.”

I got there halfway through the opening set by Lincoln bluegrass band Triggertown — these guys are amazingly good. The combo included banjo, guitars (one horizontally), fiddle and a guy playing a washtub bass or “gutbucket” (upside down washtub, large mop handle, string tied from top of handle to center of washtub, really all you need). Gorgeous three-part harmonies, including from the fiddle player who looked like a younger, cuter version of Amy Pohler. There are quite a few quasi-traditional country and bluegrass bands playing around here these days — Triggertown is on top of my list (at least until The Shorttimers get back together).

Triggertown was traditional bluegrass. O’Death was anything but. They did have a fiddle, banjo and guitar, but also a rhythm section that looked like they walked off the cover of Metal Hammer magazine — long-haired and shirtless with plenty of snarl and tats (and gut), they supplied a metal attitude to O’Death’s bluegrass folk rock, that during its hardest moments sounded like DeVotchKa meets Primus with banjos. In fact, those moments were a bit too proggy for my taste. The best parts were when they pulled back and played more linear numbers that accentuated traditional structure along with their harmonies. I have no doubt that their high-energy set would have gone over better in a more-crowded room, say at O’Leaver’s or The 49’r, where 40 people is a packed house and you’re playing right inside the crowd. O’Death in front of 300 would be a sweat-soaked party, but the only way I’m going to see that is if I go to Brooklyn, where I’m told they have quite a following.

* * *

These days it seems any night that you get home alive is a good night. Eight murders so far this month, including a few in my neighborhood makes for lots of looking out the corner of your eye when dark-windowed SUV’s drive by. The recent rash of shootings also means more cops on the streets — or at least more visible cops. No one knows for sure what’s going on, but it’s spooking people, as it should. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t use that ATM located in the heart of Dundee where someone was shot and killed a couple nights ago. It makes going out at night a little more… interesting.

Speaking of which…

I think it’s safe to say we’re in the middle of another punk revival here in Omaha, judging by tonight’s shows, most of which are punk-oriented in one way or another. O’Leaver’s, Saddle Creek Bar and The Waiting Room are all hosting punk shows that will be fighting for the same crowd. Someone is bound to lose. I doubt that it’ll be The Waiting Room, which is hosting a Guinness Book of World Records event — The World’s Tallest Mohawk. The night is a benefit for Locks of Love and Project Nightlights, and will, in fact, feature a big friggin’ mohawk sported by Eric Hahn of The Filthy Few. There also will music by The Filthy Few, along with Bloodcow, ’80s punk pioneers Cordial Spew, Live Wire and Somewhere Between Heaven and Hell. $7, 8 p.m.

Over at O’Leaver’s, the sound isn’t so much punk as revival garage rock with Brimstone Howl, who just got back from a European tour. Opening is Minneapolis band Blind Shake. $5, 9:30 p.m.

Finally, over at The Saddle Creek Bar, it’s more punk by way of The Shidiots, The Upsets, Jealous Lovers and Officially Terminated. $5, 9 p.m.

Not in the mood for punk? Slowdown Jr. is hosting Fancie, Alas Alak Alaska and Lurk Late. $6, 9 p.m.

Saturday night Bombardment Society rolls out a shitload of new material at O’Leaver’s. I’m sure someone else is playing, but I don’t know who. Brendan? $5, 9:30 p.m.

As they used to say on Hill Street Blues: Be careful out there…

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