Live Review: InDreama, Gus & Call; Lash LaRue X-mas, Dirty Flourescents tonight, Hear Nebraska showcase (Digital Leather, Wagon Blasters) Saturday…
by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com
Last night. Slowdown. First of the series of Gus & Call “residency” shows. But last night’s show also was the band’s CD release show for Will Wait ‘Til the Weather Breaks. And as everyone knows, the two best crowds most bands ever see are their debut CD release show and their “farewell” show. Scratch that. Make it three. The third is the inevitable “reunion” show.
So the crowd was pretty good last night at Slowdown, with everyone in place around the stage for opening band InDreama, a band that has grown to six players, all centered around frontman wunderkind Nik Fackler. InDreama is Fackler’s vision, a vision that’s constantly evolving, if last night is any indication. His set’s initial few songs were very quiet, very withdrawn and very trippy, with Fackler practically whispering into the microphone repeated lines like (and I’m paraphrasing here), “I think I’ve fallen in love again” while his band made droning psychedelic sounds. Included in that band is Omaha legend Dereck Higgins on keyboards and bass, human wildcard Sam Martin on guitar and a guy that played what I guess was a synthesizer in the form of a knock-off iPad, with a cord running from it — there is no “cool” way to play something like that, instead it looked like he was checking his email or Facebook news feed.
Their set’s centerpiece is (surprise!) “Reprogram,” the proggy, thick-beated head trip that was released as part of a 4-song split 7-inch earlier this year. Judging by the crowd response from the song’s opening synth drones, people are beginning to recognize it. It’s a good song.
But the best moment was the set closer, a new tune that Fackler said was the first that represented a collaborative effort by everyone in the band — a band effort — and as such was the most complicated, surreal performance of the evening. Fackler and Co. seemed to be channeling Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd psych rock combined with ‘60s and ‘70s prog from the likes of King Crimson, ELP, Yes, Genesis, Colosseum and Tomorrow, strange and wonderful with odd breaks and time shifts and pointed guitar lines. Where is this all coming from?
One final note: There were no video or lighting effects like in past InDreama shows. I guess Fackler and the band are finally getting comfortable with letting the music speak for itself.
They were followed by Gus & Call, and here I’m going to make what could be an unpopular comment. Their new album — as good a collection of wintry, reflective mood-folk and slide-guitar-fueled southern rock as you’ll fund anywhere — misses in terms of capturing the band’s live energy. I know, that’s not an uncommon problem. And it’s not as noticeable on golden-light autumnal tracks like “Grey Blues” or the delicious harmonies on “52nd,” in fact, you can hear their pretty words better on the record than you could in last night’s mix.
But when it came to the heavier stuff, specifically their showcase number, “To the Other Side of Jordan,” the recording can’t match the live version. I’ve seen these guys perform that song four or five times now, each performance was unique, all had an unbridled exuberance that flat-out can’t be heard on the record (and wouldn’t it be great if someone secretly recorded one of those live performances and released it as a 45?). Doesn’t mean the recorded version is bad, but when you hear them play it on stage it’s the second coming of the Allman Brothers Band.
Anyway, great set and great night of music. How will G&C change it up next Thursday when the theme is “Surf and Sand” and their special guests are Capgun Coup and Sun Settings? We’ll just have to wait and see.
Onward to tonight and the weekend…
One of the evening’s highlights is the 9th Annual Lash Larue Toy Drive at The Waiting Room. According to the 1% website, “Since 2003, Omaha musician Larry Dunn has organized a toy drive for the children of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. Pine Ridge’s Lakota Sioux community is one of the most poverty stricken communities in the United States. The children of the reservation are desperately in need of some sunshine and cheer, especially during a time of cold, harsh winds and immense desolation like winters on the reservation can be.”
Featured performers include The Filter Kings, The Mercurys and Black Top Ramblers. That’s a lot of boot-scootin’ fun for just $10 or a new, unwrapped toy of equal value. Show starts at 9 p.m. Open up your heart, fercrissakes, it’s Christmas.
Also tonight is the Dirty Flourescents CD release show at O’Leaver’s for their debut album, Cut the Line. The band — Shawn Cox (guitar, vocals), Cricket Kirk (bass) and Dave Hynek (drums) — calls their sound power trio guitar-driven ‘90s rock, and that’s a pretty apt description. Also on the bill are The Butchers, Comme Reel, Ben Brodin (who recorded DF’s album) and Melissa Dundis. 9:30 p.m., $5.
Meanwhile, down at Slowdown Jr., it’s Dangerbird recording artist The Fling with Yukon Blonde. $10, 9 p.m.
Tomorrow night’s big event is the CD release show at The Sydney for Hear Nebraska Vol. 1, of which you can read all about here. The line-up: Digital Leather, The Wagon Blasters, Domestica, Dim Light and Masses. Huge. Show is $5, starts at 10 p.m., and is the place where you can pick up copies of the limited-edition comp for just $15, all proceeds of which will benefit hearnebraska.org.
Also Saturday night, Pony Wars and Minneapolis band Idle Hands are playing at The Brothers Lounge. 10 p.m. and probably $5.
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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.