by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com
Just as one would expect at the local debut of the label’s latest signing, it was a virtual Saddle Creek homecoming at the Big Harp show Friday night at Slowdown Jr. Chris Senseney started the set all by himself with his guitar before being joined by wife Stefanie and a drummer who I’m told used to play with him in Baby Walrus.
You wouldn’t have known that this was only the second time The Senseneys performed under the Big Harp banner. They were completely at ease with the material, as if they’d been playing these songs for years (and who knows, maybe they have, in the privacy of their El Lay living room). On stage the more upbeat story songs had an extra dimension of assertive cool, an undisputed sinister swing and bounce. Chris’ voice glowed with a throaty brio, matched in swagger only by his fret-burning guitar work (lest we all had forgotten what a fantastic musician Mr. Senseney is on a variety of instruments). It’s a golden needle of a voice that could catch on with a larger crowd if only it were discovered in the 10,000-foot-high haystack we call the music industry. We’ll have to see what kind of publicity Saddle Creek can muster upon tBig Harp’s debut release Sept. 13. Someone get Pitchfork on the phone…
Saturday night was spent at the second evening of the OEAA Summer Showcase in Benson, the highlights of which included Dim Light at The Sydney and Blue Rosa at The Waiting Room. I’m told the crowds in general were larger on Friday night. There were only 30 or so in The Sydney and only a few more than that at TWR. Burke’s Pub, where I saw Manny Coon, was the most crowded room of the evening, but still only had 30 or 40 people total.
Finally, this morning the MAHA organizers announced that the winner of the talent contest portion of the OEAA showcase was The Big Deep. The band, whose music I’ve never heard before, received the most public votes among all the acts performing, and has earned the opening slot at this year’s MAHA Music Festival. And with that, MAHA’s lineup is finally complete.
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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.