Live Review: Reagan and the Rayguns; Indian Jewelry tonight…

Category: Blog — @ 5:48 pm April 30, 2008

Every table was filled in the “performance room” of the Barley St. Tavern last night, filled with people there to welcome back Reagan Roeder to the world of live rock and roll music. And Reagan did not disappoint.

To inaugurate the return, the Rayguns made some line-up changes, the most dramatic of which was the shift of Mike Friedman from keyboards to electric guitar. The keyboards always seemed out of place to me, anyway, and Friedman is one of the best axe men in town. He showed it last night, torturing his guitar to submission on a set of songs that made me think that The Rayguns could become Omaha’s own version of Crazy Horse. New drummer Landon Hedges did his usual arm-swinging Animal-from-the-Muppets good job, while bassist Kyle Harvey tried to kill us all with low-end feedback. As one patron said afterward, “They sound like a rock band.” That they do, my son. The Rayguns is a bar-owner’s wet dream. Their thick, growling turbulence coaxes listeners to want to drink and drink more. They’re a drinkers’ band, a bar band, the last band you’ll want to hear as the fog of alcohol sweeps over your consciousness, and the last thing you’ll remember upon waking in a pool of your own sweat, piss and vomit, squinting in pain, blocking out the cursed sunlight with the back of your hand.

Reagan, by the way, sounded as good as he possibly could over what arguably is one of the worst vocal PA’s I’ve ever heard. I’ve been to a number of Barley St. shows and the PA usually was adequate. Not last night. Reagan’s vocals sounded like they were being sung into a $10 condenser microphone, and then blasted over a pair of $20 Radioshack 6×9 car speakers. I suspect he’ll sound somewhat better when the band plays at The 49’r on May 10.

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May 10 also is the date for The Whipkey Three’s EP release show at Mick’s. I’ve already received my copy of the EP, and can say without reservation that it’s the best recording that Whipkey has ever produced with any band. As one person put it who hasn’t cared for any of Whipkey’s past projects: “I guess persistence pays off. I actually like this.” I like it, too. The EP is about as DIY as you’re going to get — Whipkey burned the CDRs and hand rubber-stamped the discs and sleeves. I’m not sure where you can find a copy, but I know they’ll be available at Mick’s on the tenth.

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The OWH has a story today on the “live music” ordinance (here), reiterating Slowdown’s and The Waiting Room’s open house events (TWR’s is later today). Kids, get your paperwork together. The article doesn’t mention if any other venues have applied for an all-ages permit. Will there be only two?

* * *

Tonight at Slowdown Jr., it’s Houston drone-masters Indian Jewelry. According to Wikipedia, the band “is known for its droning vision music and seizure-inducing stage show.” The few tracks I’ve heard were indeed dark, throbbing and psychedelic, yet… strangely catchy. Opening is Lymbyc Systym and Dim Light. $7, 9 p.m.

Meanwhile, over at Mick’s, Brad Hoshaw is playing with Cami Rawlings and Boston to Austin. $5, 9 p.m.

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