by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com
Deerhoof was amazing last Friday night at The Waiting Room — an explosion of music that fused rock, jazz, prog and noise into one throbbing, powerful sound. While frontwoman/bassist Satomi Matsuzaki provided her share of cheerleading energy, jumping and kicking while chirping in Japanese, it was drummer Greg Saunier who fueled this rocket, with his drum kit set up right along the front of stage right (reminiscent of that crazy drummer for John Vanderslice oh so many years ago). Saunier is one of the best drummers I’ve heard on TWR stage (or any stage, for that matter). The band was rounded out by John Dieterich and Ed Rodriguez both playing what appeared to be 12-string electric guitars, while behind them was projected a nightmarish pastiche of old film — most of it purposely damaged and/or deranged. As a live band, Deerhoof eclipses their restrained, measured recordings with sheer ferocity, transforming from an art band into something that more closely resembles punk. Ironically, their one cover was a spot-on version (minus flute, of course) of Canned Heat’s “Going Up the Country,” featuring Saunier on vocals and Matsuzaki on drums. A top-five show of the year? Yes. Opening was Athens band Southeast Engine (on Misra by way of The Wrens), whose subtle folk rock and two-part harmonies sounded like Two Gallants crossed with The Delta Spirit.
If Only He Had the Power, a new five piece from Lincoln, played for a small gathering (20?) at the Barley Street Tavern Saturday night. Their rough, aggressive, noise rock was helmed by a female vocalist who began the night with her hands in her pockets but ended it unrestrained, flailing, lost in the moment. The band’s keyboard and bass anchors its sound — the guitar was barely audible, and the drums sounded more like an afterthought. What would they sound like on a larger stage with a real PA? Keep an eye on this one…
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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2010 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.