Live Review: Vera Devorah, Breakers; Garst, Problems tonight…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , , — @ 7:52 am December 27, 2022
Vera Devorah at Reverb Lounge, Dec. 26, 2022.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

One reason I ventured out to Reverb Lounge in the crippling cold last night — on a school night no less! — was to see Vera Devorah, the eponymously named Lincoln trio. Because if there’s one thing missing in our music scene (and let’s face it, there are lottttts of things missing these days), it’s female-fronted indie bands.

While the rest of the indie music world has been dominated by female-led bands for the past 10 years or so, Omaha has very few. Ones that come to mind include See Through Dresses (who haven’t played out recently and haven’t released any new material in five years), Megan Siebe (who also rarely plays live, though her 2021 album Steady Swaying is gorgeous), Anna McClellan (who I’m not sure lives here anymore), and the legendary Domestica (no new music since 2015)…

Then there’s Vera Devorah, who according to her online bio, has performed as a solo violinist, but this night played as a full-on rock trio, backed by bass and drums. Her electric guitar work, strong in basic riffage, is merely functional compared to her voice, which is as pure and perfect as any national indie vocalist, singing lines written from the heart, capturing whatever life challenge, moment, revelation or sadness that has come her way.

Set highlights included one about a dumpster fire, another written while lying in the middle of a George Floyd protest staring up at the sky, and her earnest cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Suzanne” — one of her favorite songs, which she said she played on repeat throughout 6th grade. Terrific set.

I’m beginning to wonder if Lincoln’s indie music scene is on the verge of eclipsing Omaha’s (or already has). I keep discovering amazing new Lincoln bands (some who have been around for years). And as marvelous as Petfest was last year as a showcase of local talent, Lincoln Calling dwarfed it. With only 50 miles separating us, more research is necessary… when it gets warmer.

Breakers at Reverb Lounge, Dec. 26, 2022.

Ol’ Reverb was beginning to fill up nicely when Breakers got cranking. The band is a trio of scene veterans, two of whom I already knew well. I’ve been watching bassist Robert Little play in bands for decades, all the way back to The Mariannes in the early 2000s. Same with drummer Matt Focht, who I remember from Head of Femur shows at Sokol Underground (and playing drums with Bright Eyes). But frontman Chris Yambor was new to me, and I take it from stage comments (and the fact the band hasn’t any recorded music (that I could find)), that this might be a fun side project, though they just played a show in September at O’Leaver’s.

Their music was fun and upbeat, and Yambor (unapologetically wearing an Eagles T-shirt) belted out the lines like a lounge singer fronting a jazzy version of Pavement or GBV. The lounge really came out when he was seated behind a keyboard for a couple numbers. I had forgotten about Little’s virtuoso bass skills, and Focht is a trip-wire rock drummer of the highest order. Alas, with an early morning call, I left the ever-crowding Reverb before the close of their set…

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Tonight at The Slowdown local rockers Garst top a three-band bill, with Problems — a.k.a. Darren Keen — a one-man dance party who alone is worth the price of admission, and Cable Network. $15, 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 © 2022 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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