Live Review: Cultural Attraction, Sons of O’Leaver’s, Little Brazil sing ‘Happy Birthday’…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , — @ 12:46 pm June 13, 2016
Cultural Attraction at O'Leaver's, June 11, 2016.

Cultural Attraction at O’Leaver’s, June 11, 2016.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

About halfway through the Sons of O’Leaver’s set Saturday night, frontman Kelly Maxwell pulled out something draped on a coat hanger, covered in what appeared to be white butcher’s paper, and presented it to man-of-the-hour, bass player Mike Tulis. I didn’t take notes, but Maxwell said something like, “We usually wear jackets when we play, but it’s just too hot up here.” (It was abysmally hot inside O’Leaver’s despite the AC blowing full blast).

BTW, this moment happened halfway through a song halfway through the set, while the band played on. Maxwell pulled the butcher paper from the hanger to reveal an impressive black sports jacket, heavy wool, probably around a 38 regular. Spray-painted on back in white: the number 50. The crowd went wild as Tulis held it high, later donning the jacket for the rest of the set.

Saturday night not only was a celebration of Tulis’ 50th birthday, but also 25 years of Tulis performing in bands, the first of which kicked off the evening. Cultural Attraction played a solid selection of songs from their two cassette releases from the early ’90s. Highlights included trippy acoustic-driven versions of such chestnuts as the politically charged “Anita Hill,” and personal favorite “Good Ol’ Days,” wherein the singer had to refer to a sheet of notebook paper. That was the only song, however, where notes were needed.

Cultural Attraction’s groovy, acoustic-guitar driven music was propelled by John Riley pounding away on a fine set of  congas. Yes, congas. But the real power of their music came from the voices and the harmonies, which were as strong as ever. CA drew the biggest crowd of the night, a testimony to a band that likely hasn’t played together in 20 years.

Sons of O'Leaver's, June 11, 2016.

Sons of O’Leaver’s, June 11, 2016.

They were followed by Sons of O’Leaver’s. The four-piece, that features Tulis on bass and Matt Rutledge on guitar, sounds sort of like a cross between early Spoon (Maxwell’s voice is a gravelly version of Britt Daniel’s) and The Replacements. Drummer Mike Loftis’ stick work was particularly impressive Saturday night.

Little Brazil at O'Leaver's, June 11, 2016.

Little Brazil at O’Leaver’s, June 11, 2016.

Little Brazil closed out the evening with a short set that included a handful of songs off their upcoming record. Frontman Landon Hedges led the crowd in an impromptu version of “Happy Birthday” that included an interlude where Tulis thanked everyone for coming out. Good times indeed.

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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 © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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The Sandbox gets busted; Live Review: Sons of O’Leaver’s; new Big Harp…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , — @ 1:42 pm November 19, 2012
Baby Tears at The Sandbox, Dec. 10, 2011.

Baby Tears at The Sandbox, Dec. 10, 2011.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Was it only a matter of time before The Sandbox got busted? The loft apartment at 2406 Leavenworth, formerly known as The Faint’s Orifice practice space, apparently had a visit from Johnny Law last week, effectively shutting down the space as a live music outlet for the foreseeable future. I’ve heard a variety of reports, including one that involved a full premises search and people in handcuffs. The only thing I know for certain is that The Sandbox is out of business. Black Heart Booking, who used the space for many of its shows (including the metal show that got busted), is now looking for new venues for six upcoming gigs.

What amazes me is that The Sandbox lasted as long as it did. Here’s a narrative snapshot of the venue from Dec. 2011. The fact that you could buy a beer for a “donation” was common knowledge, and could be considered selling alcohol without a liquor license. The whole legality of the “donation for booze” thing at events is rather foggy. Add the fact that it was considered an “all ages” venue where booze was available, and that the facility likely wasn’t zoned for group occupancy, and you’re asking for it.

No doubt cops have seen dozens of kids going into that building late at night, wondering what was going on. I’ve been told they were aware that The Sandbox was hosting shows (and selling beer), and didn’t care. Apparently that wasn’t the case. Or did someone tip off the cops, forcing their hand? If so, you have to wonder who else is on OPD’s radar screen, and what impact this will have on the emergence of house shows in an era when independent music continues to be headed back underground…

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The Sons of O'Leaver's at O'Leaver's, Nov. 16, 2012.

The Sons of O’Leaver’s at O’Leaver’s, Nov. 16, 2012.

The only thing stopping The Sons of… from being billed as Omaha’s version of The Replacements is that the band doesn’t play shit-stroke drunk. Their musical resemblance to The ‘mats can be uncanny, though I also hear elements of Spoon (specifically Kelly Maxwell’s vocals) and Wilco (a touch of classy twang). No doubt this group of local heroes’ sound is deeply rooted in those bands and a thousand others. Their songwriting puts them on the upper tier of local acts, playing music that feels as comfortable and familiar as a well-worn pair of motorcycle boots. No, they’re not breaking any new musical ground, nor are they trying to (nor would you want them to). I’m told they’re actually doing some recording, and that they’ve got a couple upcoming gigs scheduled at venues they’ve never played before (though is there really any better place to see the Sons of O’Leaver’s than O’Leaver’s?).

Also playing Friday night at O’Leaver’s was North of Grand, who played a number of songs off their nifty new album A Farewell to Rockets (Brolester Records), which is worth checking out.

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The first song off Big Harp’s upcoming Saddle Creek release, Chain Letters, premiered this morning right here at rollingstone.com. Down load the mp3 for “You Can’t Save ’em All” absolutely free.

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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 © 2012 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i