by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com
I walked into Slowdown Jr. last night for the Take Cover benefit (for Hear Nebraska) just in time to see Tie These Hands cover a song by Her Flyaway Manner (a member of HFM working behind the bar gave it a thumb’s up) and a tune by Mr. 1986 (fantastic, intricate instrumental, hat’s off for tackling such a complex number, guys).
Who doesn’t love the cover show concept — a local band covering another local band’s song? Unfortunately, I didn’t know who the next two solo-acoustic performers were, or what they were covering (strike that — one did a cover of a Neva Dinova song). I asked the guy next to me, who’s been around the scene for years, if he knew who the guy was on stage. “Never heard of him.” So, in essence, we were hearing a cover performed by someone we didn’t know of a band we never heard of, which kind of defeats the purpose of a covers night. Regardless, later Mitch Gettman pulled off a fine solo acoustic version of Bright Eyes’ “Road to Joy” along with an Elliott Smith song (Smith was born in Omaha).
While most of the seats in Slowdown Jr. were filled, I don’t know how many were paying customers and how many were performers waiting their turn. I’ve written about the Take Cover production before (right here) so I won’t belabor the point. I’d love to see someone put one of these together but instead of inviting a dozen or more performers, pick only five or six (or three or four, if that’s all you can get) well-known local acts and in addition to letting them pick the songs, assign them a song or two that most of the crowd is probably familiar with. And then publicize the combinations. You’ll get a crowd there to see both the performers and the songs to be performed.
I’m sure the organizers feel humble, fortunate and thankful to have anyone willing to perform at their benefit for free. However, Hear Nebraska exists for one reason only: To promote Nebraska music. And that includes the big-name touring acts with record deals that call Nebraska home. HN is their PR staff, their marketing agent, their promotional arm. And the folks behind it don’t make a penny from their efforts. Everything HN does comes from the heart. Surely the organizers could get at least one or two of the area’s bigger-drawing acts to participate. Maybe not. Regardless, the show was a success, people had a good time, and who knows how big it will get next time…
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And so, the weekend…
It kicks off tonight with Icky Blossoms headlining a gig at The Waiting Room that also features Somasphere and Lawrence band Cowboy Indian Bear. I can’t remember Icky headlining a show before, so this could be special, especially if Derek Pressnall and Co. roll out some new material. IB reminds me of an early version of The Faint, not necessarily musically, but from the band’s dance-party energy. People become intoxicated with fun at Icky Blossoms shows, and that’s a rarity in these days of endlessly droll vibe bands that are more about setting a scene than having a good time. $7, 9 p.m.
Also tonight, Lincoln legends Domestica (Jon & Heidi from Mercy Rule with the amazing Boz Hicks) plays tonight at O’Leaver’s with Ketchup & Mustard Gas and headliners The Answer Team. $5, 9:30 p.m.
Tomorrow night it’s back to The Waiting Room for The So-So Sailors, with Con Dios and The Matt Cox Band. $7, 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 © 2011 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.