Live Review: Joan of Arc; Best Coast, Worried Mothers, Johnathan Rice tonight; Pelini and my golf game (in the column)…
by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com
As much as I like their music, I don’t keep up with Joan of Arc. I lost track of them after 2008’s Boo Human, which was (probably) the last time they came through Omaha. For last night’s prime set at O’Leaver’s the band consisted of frontman/guitarist Tim Kinsella with drummer Theo Katsaounis and bassist Bobby Burg.
Rounding out the 4-piece was vocalist Melina Ausikaitis who added a Winter’s Bone-style June Carter twang to Kinsella’s usual muted vocals. Ausikaitis — hands thrust in pockets, slouched in rolled up blue jeans, red Converse high-tops, well-worn T-shirt and suspenders — was strangely magnetic, especially singing two a cappella numbers while the band fiddled with their various tuning devices.
They played a few songs off their just-released EP Testimonium Songs, including the insanely intricate, “The Bird’s Nest Wrapped Around the Security Camera” — a stuttering stop-and-go of the most complex math equations. Just as vexing was “I’d Expect Babies Should Fly, If Not At Least Float Away” — both songs models of precision rhythms and perfect instrumental choreography.
It wasn’t all experiments in synchronicity. The band threw in a few straight-forward rock songs as well as a fine version of “Shown and Told” off what Kinsella called “The Album of the Year.”
“It’s all about timing, at least that’s what they say,” Kinsella said, referencing either his songs or his set list, which, he said, was a purposeful ebb-and-flow contrast between the simple and the complex.
The set ended with a duet version of “Life Force” (Cut each other’s strings) off Life Like, that Kinsella said was the exclamation point to an evening of music that was way too short for the 40 or so on hand.
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Busy busy busy slate of shows happening tonight.
The marquee I suppose is Best Coast at The Waiting Room. The band has a new album apparently produced by Jon Brion (Aimee Mann, Magnolia, Fiona Apple). I haven’t heard it, but based on this Hear Nebraska interview, the Brion connection helped push them away from their surf-rock style, which has me curious. Opening is LA band Bleached (Dead Oceans). $20 9 p.m.
Also tonight back at fabulous O’Leaver’s, Worried Mothers headlines a show that showcases their new album. Also on the bill are Fort Collins’ Sour Boy, Bitter Girl and Cooper Lakota Moon (Dim Light). $5, 9:30 p.m.
Meanwhile, the hot-and-bothered show of the evening is at Pageturners where Johnathan Rice (Jenny and Johnny) and Laura Burhenn (The Mynabirds) are doing a free show. I predict a crammed room, so if you’re going, get there early and start drinking (heavily). Starts at 10.
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In this week’s column, how saving Bo Pelini not only will save the Husker program but will improve my golf game. You can read it in this week’s issue of The Reader or online right here.
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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.