TBT: Live Review Criteria, Tilly and the Wall, Statistics June 15, 2003; Conor Oberst (SOLD OUT), Deerpeople tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , , — @ 1:02 pm June 18, 2015

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

On this Throwback Thursday, here’s another tumble into the past via a live review of three brand new bands on the scene… in 2003. BTW, is this the first documented use of the term “kill” in a live music review?

Live review: Criteria, Statistics, Tilly and the Wall — a night of pop – June 15, 2003

This was probably my favorite overall show of the year thus far, because each band complimented the other with its unique take on pop. For one night, melody reigned at the Sokol Underground with three unabashed lovers of pure rock smiling from the stage.

Tilly and the Wall at Sokol Underground June 14, 2003.

Tilly and the Wall at Sokol Underground June 14, 2003.

The show started later than normal at around 10:15, I’m told because they expected the sets to be short — these are three brand new bands here with a limited repertoire. Tilly and the Wall took the stage like a team of waiters at Grisanti’s making their way to a table to do a “happy birthday” chant — clapping and stomping their feet as they hopped into position.

Tilly is three girls (two of whom were in Magic Kiss) and two guys on guitar and keyboard. The drums were replaced with Jamie Williams’ tap shoes and plenty of hand claps, absolutely appropriate for these happy, peppy, fun-loving acoustic songs sung mainly by the women, with the guitarist adding some vocals here and there. Imagine Park Ave. mixed with an upbeat Azure Ray and you begin to get the picture. It was fun, and cute… maybe a bit too cute toward the end, but hey, everyone was having a good time.

I made this statement last night and I stand by it this morning with the fog of alcohol firmly lifted from my judgment: Tap-dancing will sweep the nation and UK as the primary form of rock percussion by this time next year. Who can deny its infectious nature and pure staging value? Williams’ feet cut through the noise crisply, thanks to what appeared to be a microphoned plywood amplification box. The downside (for Williams) is that there’s no way she’ll be able to do that on any sort of sizable tour, especially if their set ever grows beyond its current 20 minutes. She looked bushed by the end of the second song, and who can blame her?

Statistics at Sokol Underground, June 14, 2003.

Statistics at Sokol Underground, June 14, 2003.

Statistics, headed by Denver Dalley of Desaparecidos (I didn’t recognize the rest of the trio on drums and bass). The band played songs off their soon-to-be-released Jade Tree EP and they sounded pretty good, though Denver’s vocals were a wee bit off. Part of it was that his mic wasn’t turned up enough. But most of it was his uncertainty on stage. Watching from the side, Dalley seem a bit hesitant to belt out the vocals and as a result, they were thin and slightly off pitch. Chock it up to stage rust — his tour only just began a few days ago. I suspect as he gets more comfortable on stage and listens to the playback he’ll either get more confident. Musically, the compositions are as first-rate as they are on the CD, but more guitar- than electronically-driven. I liked the tone, and the girls seemed to like looking at Denver. Someone yelled “Take off your clothes!” from the audience. Denver shielded his eyes, gazing out through the crowd, and said, “Mom? Are you out there?” Funny.

Then Criteria came on and killed everyone.

Criteria at Sokol Underground, June 14, 2003.

Criteria at Sokol Underground, June 14, 2003.

With this performance, they immediately put themselves on top of the list as one of the best Omaha/Lincoln bands for pure-energy post-punk. Stephen Pedersen has surrounded himself with some amazing musicians, not the least of which is AJ Mogis on bass and backing vocals. Mogis, with his receding hairline, glasses and beard looked like a radio DJ or a ’70s-era Walter Becker standing next to the suave Pedersen all covered with sweat like a young Rock Hudson. Pedersen is a phenomenal guitarist, but second guitarist Aaron Druery is just as remarkable. Drummer Mike Sweeney topped it off with pounding precision — he would give even Clint Schnase a run for his money. The comparison is apt when you consider that Criteria’s music is clearly an off-shoot of early Cursive, right down to Pedersen’s Kasher-like vocals.

With such a prof line-up, the band is amazingly tight, and lord knows they have to be considering the intricacy of their music — time changes, syncopation and massive breaks abound. Beneath it all are some of the most hummable post-punk melodies you will hear from anyone in the business these days. Pedersen looked elated to be on stage again, and the whole band glowed with an energy akin to pride. They performed every song off their Initial Records’ debut, En garde, and what I believe was an early Cursive song — I’m bad with song titles. It was introduced by Pedersen saying, “This next one will show our age.”

The irony of Criteria is that there are no plans for them to play again in the near future. Pedersen told me during our interview that only this Sokol date had been set up — they hadn’t even lined up a Lincoln gig yet (though he acknowledged he’d like to do a show there, but didn’t know where or how). There are no plans to tour, though he’ll continue to play local shows. He said the band hopes to hit the road sometime this summer, when Pedersen can take some vacation time from his attorney gig. It’s a shame because this band is ready right now and would conquer any tour they could line up. They would be a sure crowd-pleaser on a Cursive tour — something that probably won’t be happening too soon as I’ve heard Cursive will take some time off when they finish this tour so Kasher can get to work writing the next Good Life CD. It could be a long time until out-of-towners get a glimpse of Criteria.

As for the crowd, it was a regular Who’s Who of the Omaha indie scene. Among the 300 on hand were most of the members of Bright Eyes (including Oberst), most of the members of The Faint, Azure Ray, half the Saddle Creek office staff, members of The Carsinogents, Little Brazil, Fizzle Like a Flood, The Movies, Bliss Repair, The Mariannes, Oil, and maybe most astounding of all, local legend Dave Sink, operator of The Antiquarium record store, who rarely attends shows these days. The last time was a Monroes show a month ago, before that, maybe two years since I’d seen him in a club.–June 15, 2003

Dave, we all miss you.

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Welp, good ol’ Conor Oberst returns to The Waiting Room tonight. Conor’s out supporting his most recent solo album, Upside Down Mountain (2014, Nonesuch). Alas, the show is sold out. And if you didn’t get tickets in time, you’re not alone. I also didn’t get tix in time. We snooze, we lose. Opening is The Felice Brothers. Starts at 9 p.m.

Also tonight, Oklahoma indie band Deerpeople plays at fabulous O’Leaver’s along with Lincoln’s Universe Contest and headliner Lightning Bug. $5, 9:30 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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Stornoway at TWR tonight; new Statistics (featuring Har Mar Superstar)…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 12:50 pm May 14, 2013
Stornoway is playing at The Waiting Room tonight...

Stornoway is playing at The Waiting Room tonight…

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

No, I didn’t make it down to The Thermals last night, as much as I wanted to. Deadlines. Looks like I’ll have to wait ’til Maha to see them live.

But there’s nothing’s stopping me from going to see Stornoway tonight at The Waiting Room. Stornoway is a British indie folk band formed in 2006 in the Cowley area of Oxford, UK. Having self-released three CD EPs, the band signed to super-indie label 4AD in March 2010. Their music is very poppy indie stuff, they’ve been compared to These United States and Jake Bugg. Opening is Oklahoma City band Horse Thief, who records on Bella Union. $10, 9 p.m.

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BONUS: Check out the new track by Statistics featuring Har Mar Superstar (as if you couldn’t tell):

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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 © 2013 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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80-35 Festival (Byrne/St. Vincent, Wu Tang, is that it?), Digital Leather touring with Cursive; Statistics’ Peninsula; Pitchfork streams Thermals…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 1:02 pm April 9, 2013

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

News…

Des Moines’ 80-35 Music Festival announced what I assume is just part of their line-up for their July 5-6 gig. David Byrne/St. Vincent is good, so is Wu-Tang Clan, but I can’t believe that’s it for big names. They also announced Deerhunter, Yeasayer, Wavves, and old-school Iowa band House of Large Sizes, along with a handful more. Seems rather light for a festival that’s been around for 7 or 8 years… Keep watching their website.

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Digital Leather announced on its website that it will be opening a handful of Cursive dates in June, including a June 23 gig at The Waiting Room. DL also is listed as playing The Holland Center June 7 — wait ’til you see who else is on that gig’s line-up.

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Denver Dalley and his Mac, together again...

Denver Dalley and his Mac, together again…

Denver Dalley, who you know from Desaparecidos, Har Mar Superstar and years of hanging around Omaha bars, announced yesterday that there’s a new Statistics album coming out June 25. It’s called Peninsula and is being released by Afternoon Records. Check out the release page and the first single from the album, below:

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Finally, everyone’s favorite touchstone of indie rock pretension, Pitchfork, is hosting a full stream of the new Thermals album Desperate Ground right here. Can an 8.0 rating be far behind? (When it comes to the history between Pitchfork and Saddle Creek, don’t hold your breath…)

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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 © 2013 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Geriatric 12-12-12 performers take a (dentured) bite out of the Big Apple; Ladyfinger frontman is an undercover galactic star fighter; Stats sign to Afternoon Recs…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 1:40 pm December 13, 2012

by TIm McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Mick about to take flight.

Mick about to take flight.

I didn’t watch every moment of the 12-12-12 concert last night, but I did catch Rolling Stones, The Who, Billy Joel, Bon Jovi, Alicia Keys and Paul McCartney. For my money, Billy Joel won the “best remaining voice” competition among the codger squad. The Stones sounded every bit of 70 years old, Roger Daltrey can’t hit the high notes any more and McCartney was, well, better than I thought he’d be. It was a real sausage party. Strange that there was only, what, one woman vocalist all night? Shades of 2011 Maha Festival. As a whole, the production was a few steps below Jerry Lewis Telethon quality, with way too many technical glitches and quick cuts to people in headsets angrily shouting at someone off camera. But hey, that’s live television (or webvision) for ya.

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There’s a lot of “truth” and “growing up” going on with Ladyfinger’s next album, Errant Forms, slated for release Feb. 5, 2013, on Saddle Creek Records, and no track underscores that more than “Galactic,” the auto-biographical epic that explains once and for all the mysterious behavior of frontman Chris Machmuller. The gritty, brutal rock song tells the story of a man who picks up signals in his head — numbers and images — obviously a distress signal about an alien coup, and I’m not talking about an uprising at the Arizona state capitol. It all comes down to this line: “I’m a space invader and I think I can save this planet from galactic destroyers from space.” Unclear if Machmuller is saying he, himself, is an alien or some sort of “super soldier” tasked with leading a mission to destroy an alien onslaught. I’ve listened to this song on repeat at least 100 times in the past 24 hours and I’m still not sure. Maybe I’m not supposed to “be sure.” What I can say is that “Galactic” is one of the most important songs ever released by Saddle Creek Records (and one of my favorites). Watch the skies, people. PS: I can’t wait to see the video. Attention: Ridley Scott.

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Look’s like Statistics, the project by Denver Dalley (of Desaparecidos fame and Har Mar Superstar sideman) has signed to Afternoon Records. The label will be releasing the next Stats full length, Peninsula, in March. More info here. Check out Stats’ first AR single, below:

Statistics, “Rewind, Replay, Repeat”

 

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BTW, that For Against box set I mentioned on Tuesday slated for release in January? Well its release has been pushed back until May or June of 2013. And I’m also told to not hold my breath waiting for a For Against reunion. One can dare to dream…

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This week’s column is pt. 1 in a series about the joys and frustrations of remodeling a house. You can read it in this week’s issue of The Reader or online right here.

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No shows again tonight, which sucks because I have tomorrow off.

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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