Live Review: Jake’s Block Party (See Through Dresses, Oquoa, Twinsmith); Jim James, Basia Bulat, Youth Lagoon tonight…
by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com
Jake’s Block Party in Benson has become an annual (or semi-annual?) must-attend event for anyone interested in local indie music. As in years past, the stage was set up right outside of Jake’s on Military Ave., leaving room for food vendors (Lot 2/Baxter’s, a food truck, fine brews by Jake’s).
This time the party was teamed up with Benson First Friday, which may explain the rather light crowd for opening band Twinsmith. Though the audience was thin, interest was intense for a marquee act that has all the earmarks of a local breakthrough. Again, I was reminded of Vampire Weekend. Make your own comparisons. One of the most pop-friendly indie bands to emerge from the Omaha scene in recent memory.
Moreso than when I saw them a couple weeks ago at their O’Leaver’s debut (or maybe it was the outdoor stage) Oquoa sounded like Conduits with a male lead singer, which of course makes sense considering core members of Oquoa were in Conduits. Thick, dense waves of sound rolled through the old brick buildings, but instead of Jenna Morrison’s tonal coo cutting through the feedback we got Max Almquist’s brassy rock voice. I still don’t know what he’s singing about, but that will come when we get a lyric sheet (or a clean recording). If you were a Conduits fan, you need to check these guys out.
See Through Dresses had a sound that bounced between Dinosaur Jr. and Sonic Youth. Needless to say Sara Burtuldo’s interplay with with frontman Matt Carroll (Nate Van Fleet and Robert Little round out the four-piece) gives the band a Thurston Moore / Kim Gordon flair. When they throw in a New Order cover, well, things get out of hand (in a good way). As a whole, less punk and more post-punk than Sara’s other project.
Speaking of Sonic Youth, Noah’s Ark Was a Spaceship followed STD and played their usual cranked up post-punk set, louder than ever. By then, the block was packed. Alas, I didn’t stick around for headliner Universe Contest.
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Early in the evening, word leaked that Conor Oberst was going to mark the anniversary of Pageturners with a performance on the bar’s ad hoc stage. What to do, what to do? In the end, I sat tight at Jake’s figuring that I wouldn’t get there in time to get in and/or if I did the place would be crushed. Unlike Conor’s Krug Park “secret show” a year ago when video and reports leaked everywhere afterward, the only thing I’ve seen to prove that this actually happened was a dark, blurry photo posted on the Pageturners Facebook page.
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Two shows going on tonight. Top o’ bill is Jim James (of My Morning Jacket and Monsters of Folk) at Slowdown. Is Conor still in town? If he is, I wouldn’t be surprised if he joined his old pal on stage for a couple songs. Opening is the amazing Basia Bulat, whose new album, Tall, Tall Shadows, comes out on Secret City Records Oct. 1. As of noon, tickets were still available for $27. Show starts at 9.
Also tonight, spacey rockers Youth Lagoon a.k.a. Boise Idaho’s Trevor Powers, plays at The Waiting Room. His new album Wondrous Bughouse was released on Fat Possum this past March and is, indeed, a head trip in a Floydian sort of way. Opening is Austin low-fi trio Pure X. $14, 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 © 2013 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.