by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com
If a tree falls in your driveway and you’re not there to hear it, does it still f*ck up your entire day?
In my case, the answer is “yes.” Yesterday’s mini-hurricane was the reason for this late reflection of last weekend’s festivities. So without further ado…
I showed up at The Waiting Room just in time Saturday night to catch Matt Whipkey’s set, backed by his band “The Whipkey Three,” which this time consisted of six members. I’m not sure why Matt doesn’t just call it “The Matt Whipkey Band,” especially considering that his album is credited merely to “Whipkey.”
Anyway, the band played songs off the new double-vinyl album, Penny Park, along with a few older chestnuts and a cover of The Temptations’ “Just My Imagination” that got the crowd swaying. It was, as always, a solid set by a guy who would accept nothing less.
My takeaway from the show is the same that I have after all Whipkey-fronted shows and from seeing Brad Hoshaw and the Seven Deadlies in which Matt also plays, and it’s this: Whipkey is hands down one of the best guitarists in town, if not the best. His axe-work has always been — and continues to be — his strong suit. His solos provide sublime accents to his typical, traditional rock compositions. They are the pop of color that make the ensemble interesting. And what’s obvious to me every time I see him play is how effortlessly he does it. His guitar work is natural and organic and absolutely honest. He does it (it seems) without even trying, as simple and complex as breathing.
As for the record, well, I’m reserving my opinion for now. Last week I mentioned in this blog that I thought the record was about Whipkey chasing tail at Peony Park. He was quick to correct me, saying he was only 12 when the park closed. So I stand corrected, though I don’t think his clarification impacts my interpretation of the lyrics (and the album cover).
At this point, it doesn’t really matter what I say. Matt’s already sold a boatload of these records via a very successful Kickstarter effort (of which I also participated).
My only question for Matt after doing the Kickstarter, distributing the albums (and other Kickstarter booty) and hosting the record release show: What’s next?
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Friday night I rode my bike up to The Waiting Room for the first time ever. and I must say it’s the only way to fly. My only anxiety was finding a place to lock my bike. The bike rack across the street from TWR already was filled. I ended up finding a rack outside Beercade, where I figured people would be outside smoking all night. A thief would be crazy to try to steal it from there, right?
But despite that, it took a good half hour (and a couple Rolling Rocks) before I finally relaxed and could enjoy the band, which in this case was Mount Moriah, a NC four-piece that played rusty folk rock reminscent of Neil Young but sung by a mysterious young woman who remained hidden beneath sweeping bangs.
Cave Singers headlined Friday night, their first time back in Omaha in seven years. With the addition of the flautist and playing an even more rootsy style of folk that I remember, their sound borders less on Americana than jam band (and what’s wrong with that, I suppose?). Despite the quality of music, I ended up leaving before their encore to find my bike still in one piece. God bless you, Benson.
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The week’s starting off quiet show-wise. Not much until Thursday, when Well Aimed Arrows headlines (yes, headlines) at The Waiting Room with The Dad and Co-Axed. $7, 9 p.m.
Then Friday night is the big Camera Obscura show at The Slowdown. By then, the tents will have been long gone (though I’m sure those Slowdown folks will still be counting their mountain of CWS cash)…
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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 © 2013 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.