Live Review: Goodnights Pizza; English Beat, The Dinks tonight; Thunder Power’s new line-up unveiled Sunday…

Category: Blog — @ 6:22 pm March 5, 2010

Before I get to the weekend calendar, here’s a very brief review of Goodnights, the new pizza/bar in the southeast corner of the Slowdown complex. I had dinner there last Saturday night and was impressed by the service, the decor and the pizza. The restaurant looks like what you’d expect Slowdown to look like if it were a pizza place — in other words, cool, modern, slightly minimal architecturally, with good lighting, a big central bar, plenty of booths and tables, and large flat-panel TVs throughout the room. The night we were there the panels displayed Apolo Ohno and other Olympic coverage. Goodnights’ No. 1 downside: Their house music, which is horribly bad mall rock or something you’d hear in a West Omaha meat market. It almost made me lose my appetite.

But who cares about the decor? It’s all about the pizza, right? Before we could order, the waiter came by with a list of $4 “specialty shots” and begged us to buy a couple. I declined, but he was persistent, and in the end… I didn’t buy any shots. I asked why they were so pushy about shots, and he said it was all “part of the fun,” or something like that. And shots are fun, until you realize you have no way to get home after dinner because you’re blasted.

Other than a shots menu, Goodnights has a pizza menu (online at goodnightsomaha.com) — which only lists pizzas, no appetizers, which was fine by me (though I wouldn’t mind a small dinner salad or even an order of garlic bread. Actually, maybe it isn’t fine with me). Pizza is available by the slice or 14-inch and 18-inch rounds. We tried the 14-inch “barbeque brisket” pie, which features smoked brisket and pepperoni bathed in barbecue sauce with onions, cilantro and mozz cheese. The pizza arrived almost immediately — great service, and lots of it, judging by the half-dozen or so uniformed waiters who had nothing to do (because there was only about 10 people in the restaurant — on a Saturday night).

Goodnights pizza is thin-crust, similar to Zio’s but much better because they pre-bake the crust before adding toppings, and then bake it again — just like how I make my own homemade pizza. So unlike Zio’s greasy, soggy crust, it’s nice and firm and tasty. The crust was the best part of the pizza. The brisket was good, too, but everything was overpowered by the sauce, which was too sweet and too abundant — way too much sauce for a BBQ pizza. With beer and tip, the bill was around $30 total, not bad.

So where does Goodnights fit into the Omaha Pizza Matrix? I’d rank it above Zio’s and the national chain pizza joints, but below LaCasa (which is top dog on my list). It sits just slightly above Pizza Shoppe and Sam and Louie’s. So, definitely worth your attention. It’s better than nearby Union Pizza, which started out strong when it opened a year or so ago, but whose pizza quality has steadily declined thanks to skimpy toppings and under-cooking (at least the last few times I’ve ordered from there).

* * *

So why the restaurant review? Because tonight would be a good night to try Goodnights, before or after the English Beat concert at Slowdown (Goodnights is open until 1 a.m.). The show sold out weeks ago, which I guess shouldn’t be a surprise considering vintage ’80s bands appeal to such a large majority of Omaha music fans. I’ve always thought English Beat was a B-level ’80s band, but still fun with hits like “Mirror in the Bathroom,” “Save It for Later” and “I Confess” and I wouldn’t be surprised if we get a little “Tenderness.” But you already know this if you have tickets, and if you don’t, you’re screwed. The show starts early — 8 p.m. I’ll be getting there at around 10 to avoid openers Outlaw Nation and Fishbone — a band I’ve never liked.

No tix? Head to O’Leaver’s (where I’ll probably end up after Slowdown) and see The Dinks (according to O’Leaver’s tweets, they’ve changed their name to Saudi Arabia) with Perry H. Matthews, La Casa Bombas and Watching the Trainwreck. $5, 9:30 p.m.

Tomorrow night is looking rather sparse. Midwest Dilemma is playing down at Slowdown Jr. with Mother Culture, Anniversaire and Wrestling With Wolves. $7, 9 p.m.

The Hole is hosting punk shows both Friday and Saturday nights. Tonight features local heroes Hercules with California band Battle, Borealis, Worst of Times and the legendary Cordial Spew. Tomorrow night at The Hole (which is at 712 So. 16th St. (the old Diamond Bar)) it’s An Airbag Saved My Life, Suicide Blondes, La Casa Bombas, The Prairies and Anestatic. All shows start at 7 p.m. and cost $6. No booze!

Sunday night Thunder Power has a show at O’Leaver’s with Underwater Dream Machine, and Madison band Icarus Himself ($5, 9:30 p.m.). “This will be our first local show of the year and kind of our pre-SXSW warm-up,” said Thunder Power’s Will Simons in an email. “We have a few new songs, a revamped lineup (new drummer Jeremy Stanoshek of bands like Kite Pilot, Coast of Nebraska, Magic Kiss) and have trimmed down to a quintet from a six-piece. We are also about to release a 10-inch split-EP with the 1959 Hat Company (Toledo, OH) on Slumber Party, out March 9. It will be our third release on the label.”

In addition, Simons said April 5 will see the release the band’s first single “Take a Hike” in the UK and Europe, followed up by the release of an extended EP sometime this spring/summer on a label called Mono Music.

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