by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com
So which version of The Shanks will show up at O’Leaver’s tonight? Will it be the crazy, violent, angry punk band dead-set on destroying rock ‘n’ roll? Or will it be the kinder, gentler, “cleaned-up” version, still tough but sensible, some might say responsible, deeply motivated to flawlessly perform their entire catalog over a two-night stand so fans can hear what the music was “supposed to sound like”?
As described yesterday, going to a Shanks show at O’Leaver’s used to be like taking a trip to The Mississippi Queen bar in Bangkok circa 1967 or 1985 or now. Unbridled chaos. Drunks yelling in gibberish. Sweat and stink. A shoving match begins near the stage. Glass breaks. All eyes focus on the big guy throwing the little guy through the drum set, quickly realizing that the two rolling around on the ground are in the band. Fuck you’s are exchanged, then the band strips to the waist and tears into one of their many feedback-pain punk songs. The room becomes unbalanced, about to get out of control. A woman tries to call the cops, but a regular grabs her Blackberry and says, “Oh no, not this time.” Laughter/shrieking cuts through the noise. Something’s wrong, something that could involve you. Some guy in sunglasses pulls the door shut and locks it. One of the bartenders ties a dirty dish rag to his head bandanna-style and climbs on the bar, pulls off his shirt and cuts a cross in his chest with a large bowie knife, nipple-to-nipple, chin to belly button. He turns to you and says grimly, quietly, “We’re all gonna die.”
Or, the band could show up with their wives in tow and dutifully, uneventfully run through their 13-song set-list without incident. It would still be a Shanks show… sort of. The latter is more likely to happen, and probably the right thing to do. Is punk about spectacle or attitude or violence, or is it about the music? Tonight and tomorrow night, it’ll be about the music. Probably.
Opening tonight’s show is Mosquito Bandito and The Fucking Party. Tomorrow night’s opener is Whyte Bitch. Both shows are $5 and start at 9:30 p.m. Come to one or both.
What else is going on this weekend? Well, All Girls Are Machine Guns is playing tonight at The Barley Street with Bearkat. $5, 9 p.m.
The Answer Team is playing the Red Sky Battle of The Bands competition at Pat & Mike’s, 9136 Bedford Ave., with Rock Paper Dynamite, Voodoo Method and Mint Wad Willy, with the winner getting a local stage slot and a big payday at Red Sky (My vote would go to The Answer Team, which means they are now destined to lose). No idea when this one starts or what it costs, but it’s probably $5.
Saturday night Blue Bird gets in on the Red Sky talent show along with Witness Tree, Bad Country and Sidecar 69, at The 21st Saloon at 4727 So. 96th St., a club I’ve never heard of. $5, 7 p.m.
Over at The Sandlot, 2406 Leavenworth (a cool space when I was there a year ago), it’s Lightning Bug, The Empty Spaces (KC), Millions of Boys, and Cat Island. 9 p.m., $7.
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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.