Live Review: Son of 76; Conor Oberst organizing a benefit concert; People of the Southwind tonight, the weekend…
by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i
Son of 76 and the Watchmen is one of those bands that plays spot-on renditions of the music on their CD — impeccably, almost note-for-note. They can do this because they’ve got some of the most talented musicians in the area — seasoned pros backing Mr. Sixer himself, Josh Hoyer, who held court last night at The Waiting Room like a guy who has been singing these songs for years instead of just for the past few months. If I had a quibble with their set, it was with the relentless mid-tempo pace of every song and the generally unchanging arrangements, which didn’t lend themselves to a lot of dynamics — the end result could be a lulling effect, with me anyway. Not, apparently, with the rest of the 120 or so on hand — a “blues crowd” I’m told, which I guess means it was a lot of people from the Omaha blues scene. Whether what Hoyer and Co. were playing was blues or not, they all were digging what they were dishing out, and a few were even swinging in front of the stage. If you missed it, you can catch the band Saturday night at Stir Lounge. $5, 9 p.m.
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The streets of Benson were abuzz last night with talk of an upcoming benefit concert for the ACLU. I can’t give any details because the details aren’t set in stone. But I can tell you that one of the artists involved is Conor Oberst, who has taken a very visible stance against immigration laws passed both in Arizona and, more recently, Fremont, Nebraska.
In an open letter written to Charlie Levy, the owner of Stateside Presents, an independent concert-promotion company based in Phoenix, posted on Billboard.com (here), Oberst references the Fremont law, saying he’s “outraged, saddened and embarrassed for their town and my state,” and mentions that he’s in the process of organizing the fundraiser. Here’s an excerpt from the letter:
“Just this past week, the little town of Fremont Nebraska passed a very similar, almost more radical, city ordinance. It was co-authored and championed by Kris Kobach of Kansas who helped write SB1070. I was outraged, saddened and embarrassed for their town and my state. I am already in the process of organizing a fund-raiser for the NE chapter of the ACLU who is suing the town of Fremont. Our situation requires immediate legal action and a campaign for public awareness (there has been very little press on this). Charlie, I promise you, if this Fremont law had been passed Statewide instead of in a rural town of 25,000 people, I would be the first to call for a boycott of my home state. This way of thinking and legislating is so dangerous, and such a threat to our basic ideals as Americans and Humans, that we cannot stand by and do nothing. We cannot play on as if nothing is wrong. This is not just about Arizona. I am not just skipping a tour date. This is not going to be easy for anyone.”
Read the whole Billboard article — including the full text of the letter — here. Among the rumored performances at this benefit is a reunion of one of Oberst’s former punk bands. I’m sure we’re going to be getting all the details in the next few days.
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I was 13 when I went to my first concert at the Civic Auditorium. The band was Kansas, who was out on one of its later, post-peak tours, but still had the same core talent that released Leftoverture. What do I remember? Hmmm… I remember there were green lasers lights everywhere — something I hadn’t seen before. I remember the stink. Concerts at the Civic Aud were the closest things to hippie scenes that I ever witnessed first-hand — teen-agers on the concrete floor sitting Indian style passing around a doobie while Frisbees flew overhead across the smokey auditorium (yes, kids, you could smoke in auditoriums back then). All seats were general admission, so fights were common when people stole each other’s seats. It was hot and dirty, and most of the people were pigs, but it was fun, especially if you were 13 and without your parents. And yeah, as proggy and cheesy as they were, I dug early Kansas back then.
Of course the band that calls itself “Kansas” that’s playing this evening in Memorial Park isn’t the same band that played at the Civic all those years ago — no Kerry Livgren, no Rob Steinhartd. Still, Steve Walsh continues to sing with them, so most people won’t notice, and of the three legacy acts playing tonight, Kansas will probably sound closest to the original. Styx, on the other hand, no longer has Dennis DeYoung; and Foreigner is without classic frontman Lou Gramm. But considering the crowd, I doubt anyone will notice that, either.
Anyway, after the fireworks, once you’ve finished packing up your blanket and get back to the car, you can head on over to The 49’r for The Filter Kings, Killigans and Ron Emory (TSOL). No idea on the price, but probably around $5, and starting at 9 p.m.
Saturday night Honey & Darling play with Everyday/Everynight and Cat Island at The Waiting Room, $5, 9 p.m.
And them comes the Fourth of July. At The 49’r, Simon Joyner and the Parachutes play with Hubble. Joyner and his crew are getting ready to head out on the West Coast leg of their tour. $5, 9 p.m. Also on the Fourth, O’Leaver’s is hosting a “Salute to America” featuring Peace of Shit, Mosquito Bandito and Lite Lion. $5, 9 p.m.
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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.