Live Review: Azure Ray/Cursive; Beat Seekers tonight…

Category: Blog — @ 5:49 pm July 27, 2009

A handful of people told me that they didn’t go to the free concert outside at Slowdown Friday night for fear of large crowds, parking congestion, etc. They had nothing to worry about. I showed up after Flowers Forever and parked on the street on the east side of the Slowdown complex. After strolling through the entrance between Slowdown and American Apparel you were met with a sort-of festival environment, with booths for food, merch and most of all, booze. There were maybe 500 people there when I arrived. Another 250 showed up in time for the Azure Ray reunion set.

The stage was tucked into the nook behind Slowdown and Film Streams — very nice. Not so nice was the sound system, at least during Azure Ray — the vocals were overblown (ironic when you consider who was doing the singing), and crackled and dropped out throughout the set. Very unfortunate. That said, the duo was in good voice, and it was nice to hear some of these old AR tunes again. Andy Lemaster, who played guitar in their band, continues to resemble a 17-year-old boy, which will only continue to stoke the speculation that he’s a vampire. See action photo.

By the time Cursive hit the stage, it looked like more than 1,000 people were there, though it never seemed crowded. My guess is you could have had double those numbers within the parking lot/compound and it still would have been comfortable, which raises the idea of Slowdown hosting two or three of these kinds of outdoor shows per summer, that is if the residents of the new “22” apartment complex don’t mind — hey, what did they expect when they moved into a building linked to Omaha’s indie-music ground zero?

Cursive came on just as it was getting dark. Behind them on two large screens was a video created especially for the event that juxtaposed footage from Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom with old movies (including a Dustin Hoffman chestnut). It worked pretty well; Cursive should consider bringing the video on the road with them. Their set was a selection of classics reaching as far back as Domestica to new stuff off Mama, I’m Swollen, and it all sounded great. I assume the sound system was selected with them in mind (and not Azure Ray). Tossed into the mix were covers of The Cure’s “The Lovecats” and Bowie’s “Modern Love.” Overall, it was a lot of fun. Let’s do it again a few more times next year.

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Tonight there’s a rare Monday evening show at The Sydney featuring The Beat Seekers with Brannigans Law and The Moves. $5, 9 p.m.

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