Live Review: Brad Hoshaw/7 Deadlies, Lonely Estates; Future Islands video; Cursive is ready for some football; Crooked Fingers tonight…
by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com
A couple weeks ago, Brad Hoshaw “released” a new collection of songs titled Spirit of the Lake via his Bandcamp page (You can find it here). The recordings are homemade demos that capture the bare essence of Hoshaw’s latest songwriting output. Last Friday night we got to hear a number of those songs “fleshed out” with his band, the Seven Deadlies, and it’s safe to say Hoshaw could have another hit on his hands if he’s ever able to scratch together enough money to get his band into a studio to make a “proper” recording.
Case in point: “New Tattoo,” a desperate, downright creepy song about the aftermath of love gone wrong that Mr. Cash would have been proud to perform during his darker days. On the home recording, Hoshaw comes off lonely and broken as he sings the lines, “So tell me how you think you’ll feel / When I carve your name beneath my heel.” But on stage with his posse at The Waiting Room Saturday night, the song turned into a blistering, angry threat, a pointed finger of redemption made bold and bloody by a band lost in the same homicidal red-mist as Hoshaw. It was, indeed, a perfect moment.
As satisfying as his ’09 debut album was, I was afraid Hoshaw might be a one-and-done flash in the pan whose flash was never seen much beyond our city limits. The fact that that album never reached the audience it deserved is one of the great tragedies of our local music scene, though in all honesty, I don’t know who else to blame other than Hoshaw and an industry that, despite technology that makes almost any music available to a global audience, is unable to find and expose the greater talent to the greater masses.
The way his debut was left to languish in obscurity, one couldn’t blame Hoshaw if he decided to hang it up and walk away from his dreams. Instead, he’s created another stellar collection of songs, which are almost hidden in those home recordings but are completely realized when performed on stage by his full band. Maybe instead of wasting thousands of dollars in a studio, he and his cohorts should simply polish these chestnuts to a fine sheen and record them live from The Waiting Room stage. Or maybe it’s time for Hoshaw to head to Nashville with these songs in his pocket and see if any of the current C&W elite will bite. He and his songs certainly deserve better than they’ve been getting hanging around here.
Hoshaw was followed by the show’s headliner, Lonely Estates, who was celebrating the release of their new CD by giving away copies to anyone who came through the door (a business plan that seems rather… flawed, though I’m sure they’re happy just to get the music in people’s hands).
Frontman Braden Rapp was an inspiration — how he stands up there and does what he does is amazing to me. First, the vocal lines are as vein-poppingly high-reaching as anything Stephen Pedersen sang in Criteria. He’s going to have to stay young if he’s going to hit those notes in 10 years. Then there’s his stage presence. Alone with only a microphone to lean on instead of a guitar, Rapp seemed completely exposed, forced to fill the space with dance steps and hand gestures, and yet he pulled it off. He is, indeed, a portrait in courage.
Lonely Estates’ music is well-crafted indie pop performed with almost formulaic perfection, every corner perfectly rounded, every direction well charted. Like all good radio music, you know exactly where each song is headed, almost as if you’ve heard them all before. I compared them to Little Brazil in my writeup last week, but their influences likely are more commercial. About halfway though the set, the band did a spot-on cover of Cutting Crews’ “(I Just) Died in Your Arms Tonight” that tipped their hand and made me think they’d make a great cover band (I was later told that some of the musicians are part of the city’s premiere cover band, Secret Weapon). The standout was guitarist Phil Reno, who put on a clinic with his solos and riffs that placed him on the summit with the area’s most talented musicians.
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Speaking of frontmen, remember how I gushed about Samuel T. Herring of Future Islands when his band played at The Waiting Room a couple weeks ago (here)? Now you can see for yourself what I was talking about in this HearNebraska Live video shot by Andrew Norman and Daniel Muller the night of the show. Check it out.
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Who else heard the snippet of Cursive’s “The Radiator Hums” last night during NBC’s Sunday Night Football? The song came on as Al Michaels was going to commercial; I had to rewind it a few times on my DVR before I figured out what I was hearing. Something like that probably means nothing if it were to happen to a Bieber, Gaga or American Idol winner (loser), but for a band like Cursive and its fans, the five-second snippet is a very big deal indeed.
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Tonight at The Waiting Room, it’s the return of Merge recording artist Crooked Fingers with Strand of Oaks. $10, 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.