by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com
After hearing Mitch Gettman and his band Friday night at The Waiting Room I have even more respect for his new release.
Often a live performance blows away the recorded version of the music, but not this time. While Gettman’s band did an OK job, the performance lacked the energy and depth of the new record. Credit engineer Jeremy Garrett, who piloted Gettman through the recording process (and was working the soundboard Saturday night). Garrett credits Gettman, as Mitch played nearly all the parts on the new record. That’s probably why the recording sounded so much more cohesive than what we got live.
Or blame the fact that (as far as I can tell) this is the first time Gettman’s band has played on an Omaha stage in a long time. Gettman moved back from Chicago in 2012, and I don’t recall seeing his band scheduled anywhere since.
Some background on Gettman: Apparently as a youngster (15?), Gettman’s fans touted him as the next Conor Oberst — a declaration that would make anyone nervous. Gettman exited to Chicago, some say to get out from under that shadow. According to this Hear Nebraska interview from Sept. 2012, he came back because of the cost of living in the Windy City, and the fact that there just weren’t many advantages to being in Chicago vs. Omaha.
Needless to say, now at age 20, Gettman has shaken off the Oberst comparisons (He never sounded like him in the first place) as well as the Jeff Buckley tag (There’s still some of that in his voice and songwriting, but can you blame him for loving (and emulating) a legend like Buckley?).
Fact is, Gettman’s voice sounds like whatever you think it sounds like. At times I was reminded of Thom Yorke, Eric Carmen and Donovan. Read into his voice whatever you wish. Musically, he sounds like someone raised on a wide variety of music from the past 40 years, all of it steeped in song craft. Imagine where he’ll be when he’s 26…
The crowd of around 100 was an interesting mix, few of whom I’ve seen at the usual indie shows. Gettman seems to fly outside those indie circles; maybe because he doesn’t pal around with the indie bands. I don’t know. I don’t think of him the same way I think of the usual suspects who play with Saddle Creek or Team Love or Slumber Party bands, though his music is as interesting in its own way…
It’s funny how we segregate music in this town. And unfortunate.
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On the way to the club Friday night I caught about 20 minutes of music at Hoshaw’s Corner — part of the Benson First Friday tradition. Joining Hoshaw were Matt Whipkey and Vern Fergesen playing a round robin of each others’ songs to a decent crowd huddled under the awning where Military meets Maple St.
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One Percent just announced that Future Islands is returning to the Waiting Room Aug. 28. Something tells me there will be more at this show than the last time they came through in 2011, when only about 30 were in the crowd. Something tells me this show could sell briskly. Get your tickets when they go on sale Friday.
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The only club celebrating Cinco de Mayo tonight is fabulous O’Leaver’s, where a trio of bands takes the stage: Twin Cities act Griswold and Omaha acts Let Alone and Timecat. Slap on a sombrero and head on down to the club. The music starts at 9:30 and will cost you $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 © 2014 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.
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