Live review: The Cops, Race for Titles…

Category: Blog — @ 2:55 pm April 2, 2006

…and no Little Brazil. Seems the band played a show in Billings, Montana, Friday night and raced to cover the 900 miles back to Omaha in time for last night’s show. They didn’t count on the black sheets of rain that met them along the way on the Interstate, slowing them down to a 70-mile-per-hour crawl. As midnight rolled around, the band was still 40 miles away. So close and yet so far away. Could be a long wait until we get to see these guys again as they don’t have any shows booked that I’m aware of. Then again, they could pop up at O’Leaver’s in a moment’s notice.

LB’s labelmates The Cops did make it last night, along with around 200 other folks who were able to find a place to park near the crowded Sokol, where a sold-out Blue October show was going on upstairs in the main auditorium. That show — and that band — were the butt of a lot of jokes from stage, and who can blame them? You ever heard Blue October? Anyway, The Cops kept up their end of the deal last night, sounding pretty much like how they sound on their new CD — a cross between The Clash and Rocket from the Crypt and a New York garage punk band. Extremely well played. Mike Jaworski looked at home strutting around stage in the frontman role and sounding like a modern-day Joe Strummer. I’ve got to hand it to them, they actually managed to get a few people dancing — maybe a dozen or so right in front of the stage.

This was the first time I’ve seen Race for Titles with new drummer Matt Baum (ex-a dozen local bands including The ’89 Cubs and Desaparecidos). No doubt he brought a different style to the mix than former drummer Matt Bowen — a more throaty, muscular sound, leaner, more straightforward, more epic. Though the set was all new material (or so they said from stage) it still had that same RFT sound heavy on delay, dense with echo, and the same dry, wailing vocals that aren’t so much about melody as they are about adding another layer to the moody, red-light vibe the band casts, reminiscent of shimmering ’80s bands like The Church and (a less poppy, more moody version of) The Cure. Their best number was an ambitious, larger-than-life closer that would send the crowd home through a driving rain, wondering if Little Brazil’s vanishing act was just another April Fool’s Day prank…

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