Live Review: The Double, John Vanderslice; the weekend ahead

Category: Blog — @ 12:08 pm October 7, 2005

Strange pairing of bands last night. Not sure why The Double — essentially a noise/art band — is touring with Vanderslice — a run-of-the-mill indie singer/songwriter.

I figured The Double would come off experimental live. They did. Imagine Ian Curtis fronting The Fall with lots of drone and you begin to get the drift. A four-piece featuring organ/keyboards right in the middle and nice drums but with no real beat. At times it reminded me of Interpol if Interpol weren’t a dance band. Trippy stuff that came close to reaching epic proportions but never quite got there. Funny how their single, “Icy,” sounds just as out of place in their live set as it does the CD. I assume Matador listened to the demos and said “You can have all the strange organs and jangle-drone shit you want, but we need a single to use on the comp.” And it is a good single.

Vanderslice started out strong — I loved the first two songs — but then he got into his regular indie-pop groove, which is a bit too vanilla for my taste — sort of a less fun version of Matthew Sweet or a watered down Ted Leo. The crowd seemed into it, but after about a half hour people started to leave. I’m somewhat guilty of never having given Vanderslice much of a chance from the beginning of his career. I never got into Mass Suicide Occult Figurines when it came out in ’00, and I still don’t get what all the fuss is about. Seems like a nice guy, though. Head count: I’m guessing 125. I left before the encore.

A glance at the weekend’s best:

Tonight: Lee from Bad Luck Charm does a solo set at Mick’s. Cross town at O’Leaver’s Shinyville is headlining a four-band bill consisting of bands I’ve never heard of. I’ve never heard Shinyville, either, but I hear good things about them. $5, 9:30.

Saturday: The Street Urchins at The 49’r for what’s being billed as “their final Omaha show.” Opening is Brimstone Howl. This will be a mob scene. Come out and see The Urchins one last time so you can say you saw The Urchins. They’re that good, by the way. $5. Also Saturday, Mal Madrigal is at O’Leaver’s opening for Medications (ex-Smart Went Crazy, ex-Faraquet). $5, 9:30. Down at The Goofy Foot, Kite Pilot is opening for First Fight recording artist The Floating City, a straight-up, laid-back indie band. It’s an early show — 8 p.m. — and will cost you $4.

Sunday: Good ol’ William Elliott Whitmore is back, this time at O’Leaver’s. It’s worth it just to see a 27-year-old white guy sound like a 70-year-old black man singing Texas blues a la Blind Willie Johnson. Opening is local blues artist Sarah Benck sounding like a 20-year-old white girl. $5, 9:30.

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