Live Review: Night Pirate, Kite Pilot, Blue Bird; Morrissey headed to Lincoln; Maps and Atlases tonight…
by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com
Night Pirate, Omaha’s latest mix-and-match post-punk combo, debuted Saturday night at The Barley Street Tavern to a full room. So new is this band that they had lyrics taped to their microphones, having (apparently) just come up with the words. Turns out they didn’t need the cheat sheets as no one could understand what frontman vocalist/guitarist Jason Ludwick (of Bombardment Society fame) was yelling anyway, nor did they care. Theirs isn’t the kind of music that lends itself to intense cerebral examination. Rather, it’s all about angle and rhythm, riffage and beats and where the breaks lie. So yeah, this was as abrasive as anything that these guys have done before. Bassist Tim Feelger of Latitude Longitude pounded it out and even threw in a tasty vocal lead that was a tad closer to actual singing than Ludwick’s Gary Dean Davis-esque bark. Overall, the difference between this and the band members’ other projects were the songs, which more closely resemble something that could reasonably be mistaken for “rock” thanks to the riffage, as brutal as it was. As for drummer Steve Micek (of The Stay Awake), I will simply add that he’s probably the best drummer in Omaha. Will these guys ever play again? Who knows. Hope so.
Kite Pilot followed. Playing as a power trio, they continue to mix in proggy/arty material with the usual proto-punk scorchers, to ill effect. Artists must be artists, I suppose. That said, the band will always be known (and loved) for their five-song pop EP from earlier in the past decade, which they no longer play live (which is a pity). They still managed to roll out a few pop numbers that showcase frontwoman Erica Petersen-Hanton’s kickass guitar and bass chops. It’s called giving the people what they want, and we do want more.
Afterward, it was up the street to Blue Bird’s CD release show at The Waiting Room. Nice crowd of more than 100 were on hand to see this rather large ensemble whose primary focus is frontwoman Marta Fiedler. One guy turned to me and said “What do you think of the Jenny Lewis tribute band?” That description doesn’t necessarily fit, but I can understand why the comment was made, especially when Fiedler and the band strolled through some twangier numbers. Still, with her added C&W lilt, Fiedler has more in common with Loretta than Jenny. She has a good voice, along with two backup singers that know their way around a harmony. The highlight for me didn’t come ’til the end of the set, however, when Fiedler and the band played a couple songs that were less heartland and more rhythm-based, making me wonder what she would sound like if she stepped away from the Americana / C&W stuff and headed toward an indie sound. Just imagine the Jenny Lewis comparisons then…
* * *
There have been rumors the last couple weeks that Morrissey was headed to Nebraska, this time to Lincoln. Today it was announced on his pseudo homesite True To You that he’ll be performing at the Rococo Theater Nov. 1. Having seen Moz play the Orpheum last time through, more than five years ago, I fully endorse this ticket purchase, especially with rumors of his impending retirement (though he’s doused those rumors as wishful thinking from music journalists (but not this one)).
* * *
Tonight at The Waiting Room it’s the return of Maps & Atlases. The band came through last year in support of Perch Patchwork. Now they’re touring their latest release on Barsuk, Beware and Be Grateful. Opening is The Big Sleep and Suns. $12, 9 p.m.
* * *
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 © 2012 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.