Live Review: The Stay Awake; Black Heart Procession tonight

Category: Blog — @ 5:55 pm August 8, 2006

This show actually happened Sunday night down at O’Leaver’s, where I stopped in not only to see the band but to get comments for this week’s column which tries to define what “indie” is and how it’s perceived these days. Look for that column on Thursday (or maybe tomorrow if I don’t have anything else going on).

I showed up just before opener The High IQ’s took the stage. They sounded like a British ’80s pop band fronted by a guy with a mean swagger reminiscent of Psyche Furs’ Richard Butler. The guy standing next to me said they reminded him of Taco. They were fun, though generic, and quite a contrast to The Stay Awake, a punk trio fronted by Steve Micek on guitar and vocals/screams/yells. I’ve talked about The Stay Awake here before, but that was over a year ago. They’ve honed their sound to a razor-sharp point since then. For me, it boils down to bassist Robert Little’s roving bass lines acting as a foundation for Mario Alderfer’s precision drumming and Micek’s guitar shard-riffs, distortion and noise, along with his occasional barked vocal. When they’re at their peak, the sound roars with a hypnotic frenzy and confusion. For my money, they’re one of Omaha’s front-running punk acts.

Tonight at Sokol Underground: The Black Heart Procession with Devics and Castanets. I just listened to “Not Just Words” from their new Touch & Go release The Spell. I figured it would be dark and brooding, but it’s not nearly as grim as I was led to believe by various media accounts. There’s no question that this is a late-night recording, but the chugging rhythms and keyboards are hardly depressing. $12, 9 p.m.

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