by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com
Brad Hoshaw and the Seven Deadlies took the stage for only the third time this year Friday night at O’Leaver’s and uncorked a slew of new material that one assumes is destined for an upcoming Long Player.
Hoshaw has shifted up his core band quite a bit since the last time I saw them, with a new drummer (Wayne Brekke), new bass player (one of the Fergesen clan) and the addition of a mandolin. That left only one remaining Deadly — Matt Whipkey on electric guitar, the one piece of the puzzle that cannot be replaced without irreparably marring Hoshaw’s music. Whipkey’s role as sideman is absolutely core to this band. His fills and leads give Hoshaw’s tunes an added dimension that frankly would not be there without him.
Matt Whipkey is one of the longest running singer/songwriter veterans in the Omaha music scene. I remember seeing him way back in the early ’00s doing a solo acoustic gig with Landon Hedges and Joe Knapp. Since then, Whipkey has gone on to front a number of bands, from The Movies to Anonymous American to The Whipkey Three, but his guitar his never sounded better than when it’s backing Hoshaw. Maybe it’s a question of focus, or maybe the two are the perfect compliment to each other.
Hoshaw’s new songs continued in the same gritty folk vein as heard on his amazing debut full length from a couple years back. Opening number “New Tattoo” is the best Bob Seger song that Bob Seger never wrote or sang, sort of an updated version of “Turn the Page” (but boiling with broken-hearted venom) that underscores every ’70s folk-rock reference that permeates Hoshaw’s lean, melody-driven song-writing style, perfect for playing in the back of Sammy Johns’ 1973 Chevy van.
While adding the mandolin seems like a good idea, we’ll have to wait until Hoshaw & Co. play a different stage to know for sure, as it was almost completely buried in the mix. But what wasn’t unheard was Whipkey’s guitar, which was pushed to full throttle on the second-to-last song of the evening, featuring Whipkey in full rock-star freakout mode. If Hoshaw can capture that energy in the recording studio, we’re in for another fine Hoshaw/Deadlies album.
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There’s a decent show going on every night this week. Maybe we all should take a week off from work? Why not?
It begins tonight with the return of Deerhoof to The Waiting Room. The band is touring in support of its latest Polyvinyl release, Breakup Song, which came out just a couple weeks ago and earned a 7.2 on the Pitchfork meter. Quirky? You bet. They certainly were the last time I saw them back in June 2010. Opening is Buke And Gase, Raleigh Moncrief, & Rahypnol Rangers. $13, 9 p.m.
Also tonight, Mount Eerie plays at Daniel Muller Studios, 6066 Maple Street in the heart of Benson, with UUVVWWZ. $10, 8 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 © 2012 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.