Live Review: The Faint, Choir Boy at The Waiting Room; T.S.O.L. tonight…

Category: Reviews — Tags: , , , — @ 12:42 pm May 28, 2019

The Faint at The Waiting Room, May 24, 2019.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

We got to The Waiting Room at around 9:15 Friday night, halfway through Choir Boy’s set. The person sitting next to me said it doesn’t sound like that voice should be coming out of the lead guy’s body. I said he sounds like Rick Astley. And their music also sounded like it came from the same decade that produced Astley — the era of Simply Red and Spandau Ballet and Simple Minds and Paul Young. MTV music. Choir Boy sounded like the soundtrack to a John Hughes film, but not necessarily one of his better ones.

I was reminded how much I heard this stuff in the early ’80s when I’d just graduated from high school and was going to places like The Depot and The Warehouse in Council Bluffs/Carter Lake, places where people listened and danced to this style of music, met people, went home with people. It was a time long, long before the internet and texting, when you actually had to walk up to someone and talk to them and ask them to dance. I wasn’t very good at that. But I had fun anyway, partially because of music like this.

I’m surprised an act like Choir Boy, a Team Love band playing ’80s-style New Romantic synth-pop, has a following among today’s youngsters. Or maybe they don’t. After all, The Faint’s biggest hits came out about 20 years ago, and Friday night’s audience reflected this — an older crowd for sure.

Todd and the boys came on just after 10 and ripped right into their set with their usual fervor.

I was reminded of another Faint concert at The Waiting Room about a decade ago in what was one of the venue’s “break in” concerts. Back then The Waiting Room was sort of two rooms — a stage room (where the stage is now) separated by pseudo walls that created a sort of separate room where the bar is located. The partial enclosures made the stage room louder, or so it seemed. That show was a sell out, and I spent it standing on a ledge that ran along the load-in ramp that lifted me above the throng. I watched the humanity down below bounce like butter on a hot skillet and felt every deep-bass throb in my bones.

And while Friday’s performance was as good as that one 10 years ago, the energy wasn’t as intense as those early Faint shows. We watched from behind the crowd along that soundboard wall that backs into the bar area. One super-tall guy, he must have been seven feet tall, stood in the center of the crowd and threw his arms in the air like an alien life form. He was the most animated of the mob that indeed bounced when they recognized a hit (“Worked Up So Sexual,” “Your Retro Career Melted,” etc.).

The set list for shows leading up to this one included maybe one song from the new album. But the band played at least three off the new one Friday night, including leading off their encore with “Child Asleep” — for my money, one of the best songs they’ve ever written. In fact, Egowerk sits right up there with The Faint’s best and the new songs blended in well with the rest of the set.

You have to ask yourself if they even need to produce new music with their rep as one of indie’s best full-tilt party bands. Egowerk isn’t what brought the crowd Friday night. And yet, how satisfying would it be for the band to just keep on playing the same songs over and over? Egowerk adds some new life into an already lively body of work. It’s not an evolution, but it continues their journey in the same dance-punk direction.

Anyway, the moment that everyone waits for always happens during the encore — “Glass Danse” — when the whole crowd erupts, and Friday night was no exception. The floor became a trampoline, just like in the good ol’ days. I have no doubt that a large portion of Friday night’s crowd came back for Saturday night’s encore.

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Because this is running long (and because I don’t haven’t finished writing it yet) I’ll publish the Cursive (and Winchester) review tomorrow.

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Tonight, Alternative Tentacles/Enigma recording artist T.S.O.L. plays at Lookout Lounge. They headline a night of punk that includes R.A.F., Hand Painted Police Car and The Scabby Ghouls. $15, 8 p.m. Wear your Docs.

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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 © 2019 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

David Nance Group, Candace, Stronghold, RAF tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 12:56 pm October 13, 2017

David Nance at The Sydney, July 7, 2017. He plays tonight at Brothers Lounge.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Super quiet weekend for shows, which I guess is par for the course when we’ve had such a strong week of shows what with Church/Zola/Whispertown. Why couldn’t any of those shows been on Friday or Saturday? Oh well…

Tonight, David Nance Group plays at Brothers Lounge with Portland psych/shoegaze band Candace (formerly Is/Is) who count Verve and Loop among their influences. Check out the dreamy track below. $5, 9 p.m.

Also tonight Omaha hardcore act Stronghold celebrates an EP release at Lookout Lounge. Sharing the bill are punk legends RAF, Finch x Kovacs and Black Velvet. $7, 9 p.m.

O’Leaver’s tonight has Rivercourt, Timecat and Light Speed Highway. $5, 9:30 p.m.

Tomorrow night (Saturday) O’Leaver’s has Lonely Estates, Ojai and Ft. Collins act Slow Caves. $5, 10 p.m.

And, jeeze, that’s it. I know I’m missing something… I always do.

If I missed your show, put it in the comments section. Have a great weekend.

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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 © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Live Review: Mousetrap, RAF; Oberst LP out today (Pitchfork gives it a 6.5); Morrissey tonight…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , , — @ 1:01 pm May 19, 2014
RAF at The Waiting Room, May 17, 2014.

RAF at The Waiting Room, May 17, 2014.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Rough crowd at the Punk Rock Reunion show Saturday night at The Waiting Room. An example of just how rough:

While standing at the bar waiting to buy my usual Rolling Rock, a big fat biker-looking dude about my age tapped me on the shoulder and said, “Thanks a lot for cutting in line.” I looked over at him and his two big fat biker buddies and said, “Sorry, didn’t see you guys standing there,” at which point he gave me a “What the fuck?” look, and then said, “Don’t worry man. What’s your name?” I said it was Tim, and he said (while shaking my hand), “My name’s Jack, as in Jack Miyoff — haw haw haw.” His fat pals rolled at that one.  I just rolled my eyes and moved along, feeling like Luke Skywalker during the Cantina scene of Star Wars, hoping Obi Wan would show up and cut the fat biker’s arm off.

Strange crowd. Lots of bumping and jostling. Lots of angry old people. Lots of drunks. But I guess it’s what you’d expect from a punk rock reunion. The only thing worse than angry young punks is bitter old ones. But at least they have good taste in music.

As evidence, I give you RAF. The band put out a few cassettes back in the ’80s, including one that spent a lot of time in the tape deck of my Ford Fiesta. The band consisted of guitarist Paul Moerke, drummer Tim Cox, bass player Dereck Higgins and frontman Matt Miller, who formed the band. For Saturday night’s reunion gig, Kelly Callier, formerly of Jimmy Skaffa, took over the frontman role and did a yeoman’s job pushing the crowd to match the energy on stage. The break-neck performance was matched by a break-neck mosh pit, just like the old days.

Mousetrap at The Waiting Room, May 17, 2014.

Mousetrap at The Waiting Room, May 17, 2014.

Mousetrap followed. Their set felt more realized and steady than the last time they played at The Waiting Room about a year ago. There’s always been something disturbing about the band’s music. When they were just kids, you chocked-up the music’s pain and violence to energy and youth. Now that they’re older, the songs take on a more sinister quality. Or maybe it seems more dangerous because it seems real, like these guys could actually do whatever it is frontman Patrick Buchanan is singing about. Scary.

In case you’re wondering, local hero Matt Bowen pulled it off behind the drum kit, supplying the necessary bombast to keep the action rolling.

Cordial Spew provided a hardcore ending to what turned out to be a hardcore night. They played a set that was much more together and professional than the band I saw play at Our Lady of Guadalupe Social Hall in the ’80s. The show back then was a brutal mess, while Saturday’s show was simply brutal, and a reminder (along with the night’s earlier sets) that some things do get better with age, just ask Mr. Miyoff.

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Conor Oberst, Upside Down Mountain (Nonesuch, 2014)

Conor Oberst, Upside Down Mountain (Nonesuch, 2014)

Breaking with the usual Tuesday release-day schedule, today is the official drop day for Conor Oberst’s new solo album, Upside Down Mountain (Nonesuch, 2014), and the reviews are coming in fast and furious. They are arguably the best reviews he’s had for one of his LPs in years.

Not the least of which is the all-important Pitchfork review, which gave the album a slightly better than mediocre 6.5 rating. The review’s conclusion: “It’s gorgeous to the point of near gaudiness, a ‘return to form’ after a strange decade evolving from wildly prolific, heartbreak soundtracking, Winona Ryder-dating enfant terrible into a domesticated Americana bard no longer interested in why to be young is to be sad. Hopefully, Oberst will find a way to make ‘older and wiser’ just as revelatory.

Rolling Stone was more laudatory with its 4-Star review. None other than David Fricke weighed in with: “But like Neil Young’s Harvest and Jackson Browne’s Late for the Sky, this is dreaming stalked by despair, then charged with rebound. ‘There are hundreds of ways,’ Oberst sings in that song, ‘to get through the day. . . . Now you just find one.’ Here’s a good place to start.”

All Music gave the record 4 Stars. Stephen Thomas Erlewine’s review concluded with: “Oberst remains an eccentric — he’s not one for obvious hooks, or even insistent melodies — but of all his albums, Upside Down Mountain feels open-hearted, measured, and bright, the kind of record that opens up a new chapter in a career and possibly wins over new listeners.

The Guardian also gave the record 4 stars, concluding “…melodies emerge strongly from these simple musical settings and there’s little to distract from his lyrics, which explore solitude and regret – those hoary old staples of US road music – in rich and inventive ways.”

Drowned in Sound gave the record 8 out of 10, saying “...the new album is bathed in a Laurel Canyon glow, but it’s by no means a throwback. It comes on with a rootsy, sure-footed poise far removed from the dense electronics of Bright Eyes’ 2011 release The People’s Key, though the bigger difference here is the nature of the lyrics found within.

Consequence of Sound gave the album a grade of B, concluding with “...Oberst at least has his first good album in years, and the songwriter’s narrative has a ways to go before we can judge whether he fulfilled all those expectations put on him 20 years ago when he was still a child.”

To counter all the raves, Pretty Much Amazing gave the record a grade of C-, stating: “…the very distance between the album’s mellow, casually lovely sonic maturity and Oberst’s thematic arrested development results in an eerie, unintended detachment.

As for what Lazy-i thinks, I’ve only had the album for a couple days so I’ve yet to come to a conclusion other than to say it’s the most overly produced Oberst album I’ve ever heard, and that it seems to be an obvious reach for a larger audience.

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Tonight I’m off to Lincoln for the Morrissey concert at Rococo Theater. We have general admission balcony seats, which means we may or may not be able to actually see the performance. This one’s been sold out for a long time.

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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.

Lazy-i