Live Review: The Good Life, Conduits and Osama…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , — @ 6:46 pm May 2, 2011
The Good Life at The Slowdown, May 1, 2011.

The Good Life at The Slowdown, May 1, 2011.

by Tim McMahan,

I have to mention this…

I didn’t hear the news until after I got to Slowdown last night, and not on the radio, as I was tuned into the new tUnE-yArDs CD (which, ironically, is titled whokill). While waiting in line to buy my ticket, the leader of one of the city’s better rock bands (who wasn’t on the evening’s bill) came up to me rather gleefully saying, “Did you hear? They got Osama bin Laden.” I glanced over at three guys standing on the sidewalk smoking who were overhearing all of this, grinned and said, “OK, I’m with you. And?” expecting a punch line. “No really, the president is going on later tonight with an official announcement.” I just kept smiling. The musician shook his head and said, “Look at your iPhone. It’s true.”

I knew I wasn’t being punk’d. A few hours earlier, someone had posted on Facebook (specifically @jeremy.lipschultz) that an out-of-the-ordinary late-night announcement was coming from the White House at 9:30 CT, but it hadn’t happened by the time I’d left home. When I walked into the cavernous darkness of The Slowdown, I noticed more people than usual (which means everyone) with faces aglow from gawking at their smart phones. They stared intently, saying nary a word. And the only acknowledgment from the stage came from Tim Kasher, who said something like “Some of you might think it’s a big deal. You all know what I’m talking about since we all have computers in our pockets.” A handful clapped. Not a lot. During the break between sets outside on the patio, someone who has spent half her life under the shadow of Osama said. “I guess it is a big deal, right?” I told her the best thing about it was that it might help decide the 2012 election. We both nodded and changed the subject. The night was supposed to be about music, not the capture of the modern-day real-world equivalent of the head of HYDRA or SPECTRE. I’m happy they got the guy, and I’ll leave the rest of the commentary to the political blogs…

Conduits at The Slowdown, May 1, 2011.

Conduits at The Slowdown, May 1, 2011.

Back to the subject at hand… A few hundred showed up at last night’s Omaha Girls Rock! benefit at Slowdown — a nice crowd. I got there in time to catch Conduits, who has become a finely honed drone machine effortlessly firing on all six fuzzy cylinders. When they’re dead-on, like last night, their music is like that moment in a great wide-screen movie when the flyover-plane — barely strafing the desert — comes to the edge of the cliff and the shot opens to a miles-wide canyon below. Huge, majestic, breath-taking. Conduits were made to perform on a large scale, on large stages like Slowdown and The Waiting Room (and MAHA’s main stage?). I don’t know if I’d get that same feeling if they were playing at, say, O’Leaver’s or Barley Street, but I’d like to find out.

Seeing The Good Life again was like running into old friends at the bar that you haven’t seen in way too long, catching up on gossip, reliving old war stories, remembering everything you liked about them and wondering why you haven’t spent time with them lately. During a free-spirited set that lasted over an hour and included special guests Chris Machmuller on alto saxophone (on two songs) and Craig Korth adding harmonies to a cover (“Oh Yoko”), the band seemed to barely scratch the surface of their fantastic catalog. A grinning Kasher told the crowd how much fun they were having on stage and thanked them for sharing it with them, especially since they “only play about once a year” anymore, which is an absolute shame.

By all indications, the fund raiser was a big success. Now it’s time for the folks at Omaha Girls Rock! to roll up their sleeves and get to work. You can find out more about the organization right here.

A side note: The long-awaited four-song split with Conduits, Icky Blossoms, InDreama and Touch People has finally arrived and was on sale at the merch table last night, which means if you preordered a copy, it should be on its way.

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Tomorrow: A live review of Saturday’s Digital Leather show, some Red Sky comments and info about a show at The Barley Street that you crazy shoegazers won’t want to miss…

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2011 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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