Live Review: Giant’s Arrow, Wagon Blasters, Domestica; VMAs; White Mystery, The Blind Shake tonight…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , , , — @ 12:59 pm August 31, 2015
Giant's Arrow at O'Leaver's Aug. 29, 2015.

Giant’s Arrow at O’Leaver’s Aug. 29, 2015.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Fun night of music at O’Leaver’s this past Saturday.

The consensus (even voiced from stage) was that Lincoln band Giant’s Arrow carries on the tradition of mid-’90s emo bands like Boys Life and Caulfield bands like Christie Front Drive. Their style is angular indie bordering on prog, soaring, complicated rhythms, and scream/yell vocals that lack a central melody, with ferocious guitar licks that are jittery and spastic. There also were moments of melodic lucidity. I jotted down At the Drive-in and early Husker Du. At times they reminded me of local boys The Stay Awake or even Fromanhole, though without the those bands’ precision.

The performance brought on a discussion (again) of what “emo” means and how the term evolved from its original label used to describe Rites of Spring-style punk bands. Giant’s Arrow’s sound is one-generation removed, to the pleading/angular style of emo that would later evolve into the poppier punk style of Promise Ring. At least that’s my take on it.

That said, I liked them. The four piece flailed around stage so much I thought they were going to slam their guitars into each other. Lots of kicking and jumping and wagging of heads in time with the music’s energy. They don’t play songs as much as proggy rock constructions.

Wagon Blasters at O'Leaver's, Aug. 29, 2015.

Wagon Blasters at O’Leaver’s, Aug. 29, 2015.

It’s a distinction that separates Giant’s Arrow from the other bands on the bill Saturday night. Wagon Blasters and Domestica write and perform rock songs. Gary Dean Davis may not “sing,” but there’s no denying the musicality of a Wagon Blasters’ tune. Tractor punk indeed. There is not now, nor has there ever been a band that does what Gary Dean Davis bands do.

Domestica at O'Leaver's, Aug. 29, 2015.

Domestica at O’Leaver’s, Aug. 29, 2015.

The same can be said about Domestica. Heidi, Jon and Pawl create punk anthems about everyday life that feel like rooting for the home team. Taylor’s guitar work remains somehow both raw and pristine, brutal riffs hone to a razor’s edge.

The whole evening felt like it could have taken place sometime in 1995. But then again, isn’t all great rock music timeless?

BTW, O’Leaver’s improved its sound system again. Sound engineer Ian Aeillo said they upped the wattage so the sound is cleaner not so much louder. I don’t know how much more that room can take. They’ve also added a booth in the back so that Ian or whoever is running sound can now look down over you as he twiddles dem knobs… as it should be.

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I watched the VMAs last night. What? What’s wrong with that? Alright, it does sound a bit creepy that a guy my age would watch a program clearly targeted toward teen-aged girls, but hey, as a music critic, you have to keep up with the trends.

There was a time — a loooong time ago — when MTV broadcast culturally cutting-edge content. That time has long passed. Last night’s VMAs showcased R&B, hip-hop and pop music. Notice I didn’t mention rock? That’s because today’s pop music has nothing to do with rock music, which is one of the distinctions about the VMAs of today and the VMAs from 25 or so years ago. Rock music used to have a place in popular music culture. That’s really no longer the case. Rock ‘n’ roll isn’t dead, just sort of hiding in plain sight…

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Speaking of rock music, there’s a big rock show going on tonight at fabulous O’Leaver’s.

White Mystery is playing a set as well as screening their new film That Was Awesome. Opening is The Blind Shake and a DJ set from the uber talented Dave Goldberg. $5, 9:30 p.m. What a way to kick off your week!

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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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Thanks for coming to the show!; Hop Along, Old 97’s tonight; Whipkey for lunch…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , , , — @ 2:16 pm June 4, 2015
Son, Ambulance at The Reverb June 3, 2015 -- the Big 50 benefit for Hear Nebraska.

Son, Ambulance at The Reverb June 3, 2015 — the Big 50 benefit for Hear Nebraska.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Whoa, what a night. Thanks to everyone for coming out to the Big 50 concert at Reverb last night. It was a great way to welcome in the next half-century — great friends, great bands, great times. Now what am I going to do for 51?

The Lupines at The Reverb June 3, 2015 -- the Big 50 benefit for Hear Nebraska.

The Lupines at The Reverb June 3, 2015 — the Big 50 benefit for Hear Nebraska.

Wagon Blasters at The Reverb June 3, 2015 -- the Big 50 benefit for Hear Nebraska.

Wagon Blasters at The Reverb June 3, 2015 — the Big 50 benefit for Hear Nebraska.

And there was some news at the show. All three bands either have recorded or are recording new music. When they will release it, none could say, but based on what we heard last night, we’ll all be adding lots of new music to our record collections very soon. Thanks again to the bands for playing the gig. It was a blast!

* * *

There’s another rather huge show tonight, this time at Slowdown Jr., where Saddle Creek’s latest and greatest signing, Hop Along, makes its Omaha stage debut. The band’s just-released album, Painted Shut (Saddle Creek, 2015) sits at No. 16 on the College Music Journal Radio 200 chart and No. 18 on the KEXP Variety Music Chart. Not to mention the record is getting air time on Sirius XMU, which is becoming sort of an ad hoc national indie radio station. This could be Saddle Creek’s biggest non-Omaha signing since Rilo Kiley. Here’s your chance to see them on a small stage. Opening are fellow Philly bands Lithuania and Field Mouse. $10, 9 p.m.

Also tonight Dallas alt-country band Old 97’s play at The Waiting Room with Oil Boom. $25, 9 p.m.

* * *

And this just in over the lunch hour, Matt Whipkey and his band kicked off this season’s Hear Omaha concert series in the Old Market (right underneath the atrocious sculpture of the Husker kid in a baseball cap). The series, brought to you by Hear Nebraska and various sponsors including First National Bank, features a different local band performing over the lunch hour every Thursday.

Whipkey rocked a crowd of around 100 consisting of dudes and women in business suits, local hipsters who live in the surrounding lofts and other tourists/curiosity seekers wondering what all the good-time noise was about. Next week Orenda Fink plays the Hear Omaha stage. Check out the full schedule here.

Matt Whipkey at Hear Omaha in the Old Market, June 4, 2015.

Matt Whipkey at Hear Omaha in the Old Market, June 4, 2015.

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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

The Big 50 concert: Son, Ambulance, The Wagon Blasters, The Lupines tonight at Reverb…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 11:36 am June 3, 2015
The 50th Birthday Concert at Reverb, June 3, 2015. A benefit for Hear Nebraska.

The 50th Birthday Concert at Reverb, June 3, 2015. A benefit for Hear Nebraska.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Tonight’s the night at Reverb Lounge, 6121 Military Ave. in Benson. It’s an early show — 8 p.m.

The amazing Lupines kick things off — one of my all-time favorite Omaha bands.

They’re followed by the tractor-punk stylings of The Wagon Blasters, a band that features the legendary Gary Dean Davis in the driver’s seat.

The evening closes with a very special set from Son, Ambulance, one of the most storied bands of the Saddle Creek era, playing music that is as vital today as it was a decade ago.

That’s three great bands for $10, and every penny goes to support Hear Nebraska, an organization near and dear to my heart. Plus, there will be cake! RSVP here.

Thanks to my wife, Teresa, for putting this together.

See you tonight!

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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