by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com
Landing on the Moon unveiled its new line-up last night, with their former guitarist, Matt Carroll. standing right there in the smallish audience of 50 or so at The Waiting Room. Obviously the split with the band was amicable. That said, and no offense to Matt, but the band’s reduction to a four-piece has improved it in a number of ways. The overall sound is broader, more expansive, almost panoramic compared to the five-piece set up. Taking out that extra guitar has made all the other instruments stand out — it’s uncluttered. John Klemmensen’s lead guitar does just fine by itself, thanks both to his style and the dollops of gorgeous, echoing delay.
With this new line-up, LotM seems to have shifted away from nostalgic balladeering to something closer to frontier rock — for whatever reason I was reminded of Derek and the Dominos as they ran through their old material (except, of course, for “California,” which remains their biggest crowd pleaser). Just as interesting as what they played was what they left off the set list: “She Wants,” “Hold Back,” “Letter” were no where to be found. Add to that their two new songs and you get the feeling that the band sees this new line-up as a reboot of sorts, a starting over or a reinvention, which every band should probably undergo every two or three years.
They closed out their set doing something I can’t remember them ever doing before — they played a couple covers, and both were completely out of left field. Klemmensen switched to bass, Eric Harris switched to guitar and Megan Morgan stepped out from behind the microphone for a loose, fun, sexy rendition of The Buzzcock’s “Why Can’t I Touch It?” Everyone resumed their usual positions for the finale, an epic version of Roxy Music twanger “If There Is Something,” that took me about three minutes to recognize (with some help from a certain notorious scenester).
Playing right before LotM was Bazooka Shootout, a slacker/indie five-piece that reminded me of every band from Lawrence, Kansas circa 1994. In fact, another person also mentioned that the frontman sounded like Danny Pound, the former leader of Vitreous Humor. There’s something playfully slovenly about their approach that makes everything sound slightly loaded, even though they weren’t. Unfortunately their performance was marred by problems with the bass drum mic that rattled with static throughout their set.
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Mike Fratt, the guy who runs Homer’s, says that last week was the sixth week in a row that music industry total sales were better than the same time last year, and that week seven is a lock with the release of new music by Britney and Radiohead. Is this the beginning of a full-blown recovery? Fratt discusses it in some detail in his column in the past week’s issue of Shout! Weekly, which is also online at his blog, right here and is definitely worth checking out.
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Tomorrow: Wye Oak.
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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 © 2011 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.
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