Live Review: Sleater-Kinney; Damien Jurado tonight (and take your chatter outside)…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , , — @ 1:17 pm February 16, 2015
Sleater-Kinney at The Slowdown, Feb. 13, 2015.

Sleater-Kinney at The Slowdown, Feb. 13, 2015.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Sleater-Kinney have never been on top of my “must-listen-to” list. There’s just something harsh and forced about their music, an abrasiveness that utterly lacks melody. It’s tough to sing along to an S-K song unless it’s something mellow like “Modern Girl” off The Woods, which is not characteristic of the band’s usual sound.

Their new album, No Cities to Love, fits right in with the rest of their catalog — a bracing punk rock record loaded with shrill vocals, singing about what I do not know. The title track says it’s not the cities but the weather they love. The rest of the song, the verses, are cryptic: “Atomic tourist / A life in search of power / I found my test sight / I made a ritual of emptiness.” And so on. It’s not so much the words that matter as the energy, and S-K exuded it Friday night at The Slowdown in front of a sold out crowd who loved every minute of it.

The trio, joined by an extra guitarist, rolled right into their set with gusto, with guitarist/vocalist Corin Tucker taking the lead as she would throughout the night, spitting out vocals over the din. There is little doubt that she is the leader of this band, though Carrie Brownstein is the crowd favorite thanks to a brighter, less jagged voice and her notoriety as an actress in Portlandia. Brownstein is a real star among indie stars.

I spent a good part of their set trying to figure out where the bass was coming from, as no one was playing bass guitar. It turned out (I think) that Brownstein and Tucker were trading turns playing their bass strings, though I swear at times neither was playing bass.

Despite taking a few years off the road, the band played as if they’d never left after The Woods came out almost a decade ago. If there was any ring rust, it came early in the set when Tucker sounded like she was trying a bit too hard on vocals (as she does at times on the record). As the set rolled on the band loosened up and got into a groove, injecting more soul into the music.

Holding it all down was drummer Janet Weiss, mesmerizing behind the kit and further enforcing the old punk adage that you’re only as good as your drummer. That being the case, Sleater-Kinney remains one of the finer punk rock bands that emerged out of the ’90s. And while I still don’t care much for their records, after last Friday’s show I’ve grown a new appreciation for their live stuff, which sounds less stiff and more…human than what they’ve put down in the studio.

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While Sleater-Kinney was slaying it at The Slowdown, fellow Seattle-ite Damien Jurado was having less of a good time in Kalamazoo, Michigan. The acoustic folk artist berated the audience at Kalamazoo State Theater after they just wouldn’t shut up. According to this MLive report, during his opening set for Jason Isbell, Jurado was pushed over the edge.

“The best way for me to do my job is to not be distracted by your talking,” Jurado scolded. “If you want to talk there’s lots of room and people out there talking, but this is not the place to do it, okay?”

It goes on from there, peaking with “Laugh all you want man, seriously, but this is not funny. This is my job.”  And, of course, the entire exchange was captured on video, which you can watch here. We’ve all been at shows where the crowd isn’t paying attention to what’s going on up on stage. I, for one, have to hand it to Jurado for telling them to shut up.

No doubt Omaha audiences are much more respectful than Kalamazoo’s, right? So if you’re headed to The Waiting Room tonight to see Jurado headline, take your chatter out to the sidewalk. No one wants to hear it, least of all Jurado, who is on the road supporting last year’s Secretly Canadian release Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Sun. Opening is Oquoa’s Max Holmquist. $15, 9 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 © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Sleater-Kinney (SOLD OUT), Sucettes, Well-Aimed Arrows tonight; Brad Hoshaw/Deadlies Saturday; Lights Sunday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 1:46 pm February 13, 2015
Sleater-Kinney plays a sold out show tonight at The Slowdown.

Sleater-Kinney plays a sold out show tonight at The Slowdown.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

That long sold out Sleater-Kinney show is tonight at The Slowdown (in the big room, obviously). If the setlist from last night’s show in Denver is any indication, expect to hear most of the band’s new album, No Cities to Love (including “Bury Our Friends,” which was dedicated to NYT columnist David Carr last night), as well as the usual hits like “Dig Me Out.” Opening is Minneapolis hip-hop artist Lizzo. Starts at 9 p.m. See you there.

Also tonight, Dave Goldberg’s new band Sucettes is performing at fabulous O’Leaver’s. The band also includes Jeremiah McIntyre (Box Elders), Genie Molkentine & Todd VonStup (Killer Blow) and CJ Olson. Very groovy indeed. Opening are Well-Aimed Arrows and Those Far Out Arrows. This is the perfect after-party for you S-K concertgoers. $5, 9:30 p.m.

Also tonight, bluesman/rocker Kris Lager celebrates his CD release show at 311-bar The Hive downtown. This show runs from 9 to 11 p.m. only.

Tomorrow night those Weber brothers (Chris and Corey) are at it again, in the guise of their new band Clarence Tilton (which also includes the amazing Matt Rutledge of The Sons of…) at The Barley Street Tavern. They describe their music as “country rock / Americana,” which I guess means you should wear your Stetson. Opening is folk-rock band Brad Hoshaw and the Seven Deadlies and the Heather Berney Trio. There’s no better place for Valentine losers to hang out and get loaded. $5, 9 p.m.

For you Valentine winners, there’s a modern-dance show at Kaneko Saturday night that features an experimental film by Icky Blossoms/InDreama star (and director) Nik Fackler. It marks the first collaboration between Fackler and his wife, Kat Lessor, who created the choreography in the film. It’s an event that meets any Valentine’s Day requirement. $10 (includes wine), 8 p.m.

Sunday night Canadian electro pop act Lights plays at The Waiting Room. Lights was born Valerie Anne Poxleitner. Her latest album, Little Machines (Warner Bros., 2014) is said to have been inspired by Kate Bush, Bjork and Patti Smith. It’s very pop (hear for yourself below). X Ambassadors opens. $16 Adv./$18 DOS. 8 p.m.

That’s all I got. 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 © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i