Feature: Filter Kings’ Finer Things; Lincoln Calling wrap-up; Azure Ray reunion; Midwest Dilemma, Thunder Power tonight…

Category: Blog — @ 5:46 pm September 25, 2008

Just posted, a feature/interview with Lee Meyerpeter of the Filter Kings (read it here). Actually, Lee says he goes by “Gerald Lee” these days, even though for all those years in Cactus Nerve Thang and Bad Luck Charm he was simply “Lee.” I’m guessing the name shift is a tribute to his late father, Gerald Lee, Sr. The story covers the origins of the Filter Kings and their new album, Finer Things, which will be available at a CD release show tomorrow night at The Waiting Room.

I’m not a country music fan, but just like any god-fearing red-blooded American, I like Johnny Cash and Hank Williams and some of the “old country” bands that were around in the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s, before C&W got slicked down and commercialized. I can say unconditionally that I love this new Filter Kings record. Meyerpeter and his band have made an album of rocking country music about booze and broken hearts that stands tall next to anything played on country radio. There’s meaning behind every song, whether it’s the story of Meyerpeter’s parents’ divorce (“Passion Lingers”) or Lee Jr.’s love of Rumplemints (“100 Proof Man”). It’s one of the top-five locally produced records this year, and has potential to take off if the band can get it into music programmers’ hands at so-called “Outlaw Country” radio stations, and if the band can get out and tour. Anyway, read my account of the band, then go to The Waiting Room tomorrow night. Opening is Black Squirrels (who have become the band of choice for opening slots at CD release shows) and The Wagon Blasters — a new project that reunites The Monroes’ Gary Dean Davis with Bill Thornton, both former members of Frontier Trust. Monroes’ drummer Jesse Render also is along for this break-neck hayrack ride.

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Tomorrow night’s show is the Wagon Blaster’s Omaha debut. Their first gig ever was last week at Lincoln Calling, which had its most successful year ever. LC organizer Jeremy Buckley said he was pleased with the attendance numbers. “We had attendance of close to 2,300 overall, with 10 shows having attendance of more than 100,” he said of the 5-day event. “Band payout was in the neighborhood of $8,500, and sound guys made $1,300 last weekend. I wish I could do the math and see what kind of money the crowds generated for downtown Lincoln, because if everyone spent $20 on top of the cost of their ticket on food and beer and such, that’s 40K. Big numbers.”

Indeed. Buckley said he intended to “slow down” after this year’s festival, “but it was the first year that I genuinely felt that a lot of non-regulars supported shows at all of the venues involved,” he said. “It was a very community-oriented event, and I think rather than tone it down next year I’ll just figure out how to involve a group of people (to be) in charge of different aspects of the weekend.” Here’s to Lincoln Calling ’09.

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In other news, while glancing at the Saddle Creek Records tour schedules on their website the other day, I noticed that there’s an Azure Ray concert scheduled for The Troubadour in Los Angeles on Nov. 30. The duo of Maria Taylor and Orenda Fink had played together for 13 years prior to their split in 2005. Now three years later, they’re back together again, at least for one night. Saddle Creek Records label exec Robb Nansel said the concert is a “one-off for now,” but added, “hopefully it leads to more stuff.” While I’ve enjoyed Maria’s and Orenda’s solo and band projects, none of them reached the level of their Azure Ray output. Could this be the beginning of a long-term thing? Only time will tell. Hey Robb, when are we going to get that reunion on Slowdown’s stage?

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Tonight at The Barley St. it’s Thunder Power with Midwest Dilemma (there is no way that their full ensemble will fit on Barley St.’s tiny “stage”) along with Bad Folk and Spiders for Luv. 9 p.m., $4.

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