Live Review: Skypiper, Cowboy Indian Bear; Ideal Cleaners breaks up (last November); Bloc Party, Songwriter Death Battle tonight…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , , — @ 12:46 pm May 28, 2013
Skypiper at The Waiting Room, May 25, 2013.

Skypiper at The Waiting Room, May 25, 2013.

by Tim McMahan,

I might have put my finger on who Skypiper reminds me of. I had to dig around in my feeble brain through most of their set at Saturday night’s EP release show at The Waiting Room, but (I think) I finally figured it out: Frontman Graham Burkum’ s voice bears a striking resemblance to David Baerwald’s.

Who is David Baerwald? Well, once upon a time in 1986 there was pop band called David and David. They had an album called Boomtown that was a huge hit. I loved that record, which today is all but forgotten despite the plethora of pop anthems it provided. David and David was a songwriter’s band; I don’t know if they even performed live. Skypiper also borders on being a songwriter’s pop band, though its songs aren’t as lyrically sophisticated (or as darkly personal) as Baerwald’s. That lack of lyrical intimacy might be what separates Skypiper from folks like Dan Wilson or Jeremy Messersmith, who have a similar embraceable pop style.

Saturday night’s show felt like a homecoming event, with the band creating its own stenciled stage backdrop complete with hand-made decorations. I didn’t realize Skypiper was simply going to give away their new EP. Sure enough, the Burkum Bros. told the crowd to take as many copies as they wanted from the back merch table. How are you ever going to become rich rock stars that way?

Opening band Cowboy Indian Bear put on their usual tight set. Their music seems to be constantly evolving, stretching to keep up with indie le style actuel, and while there’s plenty of sonic resonance to their sound, I’m beginning to lose the songs amidst their colorful noise. I walked away remembering the cacaphony, but not knowing what they were trying to say. Simpler is (almost) always better, which means you don’t need three people on stage pounding on a drum.

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Satchel Grande at River's Edge Park, May 27, 2013.

Satchel Grande at River’s Edge Park, May 27, 2013.

In other weekend coverage, look for a review of River’s Edge Park in my column in this week’s issue of The Reader. Needless to say, the park is going to be a gamechanger in terms of live outdoor facilities. I only caught Satchel Grande (the usual feel-good dance stuff) and Josh Hoyer’s new band, the Shadowboxers, which sounded like the reincarnation of James Brown. Get on the good foot, Josh.

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News from Lincoln: Ideal Cleaners broke up… last November. In an email that arrived in my old AOL account, Dan Jenkins announced that the Cleaners’ Nov. 24, 2012, show at The Waiting Room was the band’s finale. “We sure had a good time in that band and played together for 9 1/2 years or something like that,” he said.

On the plus side, Jenkins announced that his new band, Halfwit, will be debuting June 7 at The Sydney. Fellow band members include former members of Mother Pile, Life of a Scarecrow and Machete Archive.

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Two shows of note tonight:

Down at Slowdown, it’s the Bloc Party (yes, that Bloc Party) with Vancouver band Bear Mountain (Last Gang Records). $25, 9 p.m. Tickets are still available.

Meanwhile, over at The Waiting Room tonight, it’s John Klemmensen’s “Songwriter Death Battle,” an intriguing concept wherein 30+ local songwriters take a turn playing one song on stage using Mr. K’s acoustic guitar. Among the battlers: Dane Sybrant, Greg Loftis, Jon Jerry, Kendra Senrick, Sam Houser, Edward Spencer, Koby Good, Sarah Benck Tardy, Bret Vovk, Andrew Janousek, Scott Severin, Tara Vaughan, Jessica Errett, Jeremy Mercy, Nick Carl, Vern Fergesen, Reagan Roeder, Justin Neal, Justin Lamoureux, Stephanie Krysl, Doug Kabourek, Matt Cox, Rebecca Lowry, Matt McLarney, Eliza Doo, Brad Hoshaw, Matt Whipkey, Landon Hedges, Sara Bertuldo, Michael Wunder, and John Klemmensen. That’s a lot of entertainment for $5. Show starts at 9.

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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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