Live Review: Little Brazil at the Hear Nebraska Launch Party…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , — @ 1:37 pm February 7, 2011
Little Brazil at The Sydney, Feb. 4, 2011.

Little Brazil at The Sydney, Feb. 4, 2011.

by Tim McMahan,

The big news: Megan Morgan, Oliver’s wife, has joined Little Brazil. At first I wondered if that was a good idea. There’s the whole Yoko thing to think about. Do wives and girlfriends belong with the band on the road? But then I realized that Megan has kind of been a part of this band for years. She’s certainly rode all the ups and downs with the rest of the band. She knows what it’s like to tour having been a member of Landing on the Moon (Oliver’s “other band”) for years (though they haven’t toured nearly as much as LB). How the band will pull off a full-out fall or spring tour in support of a new album when Megan has a “real job” as a teacher I do not know. That’s a question that’ll have to wait until the obligatory interview that always takes place before the album release show.

And that won’t be too far off. LB played seven new songs, presumably tunes that will be on their next LP. It was before the second number that Megan was called to the stage as “the newest member of Little Brazil.” The addition of keyboards has done exactly what you’d expect them to do — forced LB to focus more on melodies, and as a result, the new material has more of a ballad lilt to it, it’s more tuneful, less punk, more anthem, and for a band that’s been around as long as they have, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Megan’s keyboards are not front-and-center, they’re a a colorful garnish that doesn’t get in the way of the band’s core sound, which continues to hinge on frontman Landon Hedges’ After School Special vocals, a combination of adolescent high-end and 20-something going on 30-something meloncholy. The music remains that familiar mix of Superchunk and late-’90s early 2000’s emo a la Weakerthans, Sorry About Dresden, Get-Up Kids, and my favorite comparison, Polyvinyl band Sunday’s Best (circa 2000’s Poised to Break), who they’ve always most resembled (to me, anyway). It’s too early to say if this is the album that pushes them over the hump or merely pushes them along.

LB’s performance was part of the Hear Nebraska Launch Party at The Sydney Friday night, and the crowd pushed the bar to its capacity — at least from a service standpoint. Getting a beer wasn’t easy, and I almost gave up until LB started playing and a tiny space opened at the bar. It’s been awhile since I’ve seen a show at the Sydney, and despite having a pool table right in the center of the floor, it could become a great place for live music if it wanted to be. After a few tweaks during the opening number, the room and PA sounded pretty good. But judging from their gig calendar, the folks at The Sydney (wisely) have decided to make shows a distant secondary attraction to garnering a regulars-style drinking club, and who can blame them?

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