Live Review: Burgerama at Slowdown (Growlers, Together Pangea); Simon Joyner tonight; Dundee (Dario’s) Day Saturday…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , , — @ 12:23 pm September 27, 2013
The Growlers at Slowdown Jr., Sept. 26, 2013.

The Growlers at Slowdown Jr., Sept. 26, 2013.

by Tim McMahan,

I’m looking over my notes from last night’s Burgerama Caravan showcase at Slowdown Jr. That’s right, sometimes I actually take notes at shows, usually when I’m bored or think of something that I want to remember to mention the next morning. Here’s what I wrote:

The scene is very ‘hippie,’ very drug culture. I guess it’s the whole Southern California thing. Lots of people smoking dope outside. Tiny little pipes, big puffs of stink. Lots of leaf motif apparel. Lots of Charles Manson hair and tie dye.

“Is this what it was like in 1967, when the world was dropping out and protesting the war and wearing flowers in their hair? When I think of the ’60s in my mind I see it in grainy, slightly over-saturated color film, bright, vibrant colors and only the bluest sky and music that sounds like this.

My co-pilot for the evening blamed The Growlers’ crowd for the hashy, hippie scene. It was the youngest crowd I’ve seen at a Slowdown show — or any rock show — in a long time, with only one familiar face in the crowd — a guy at least my age who I’d talked to at other shows and had run into at Homer’s before. We chatted in front of the stage before the headliner came on.

Together Pangea at Slowdown Jr., Sept. 26, 2013.

Together Pangea at Slowdown Jr., Sept. 26, 2013.

We both thought the highlight of the evening (or at least what we saw of it) had been Together Pangea. The four-piece played straight-up, edgy, garage rock with brazen hooks and smart, dirty choruses like “Too drunk to C**.” They were too good, too tight and well-polished, to call “garage rock.” Certainly no garage bands from around here sounded so well-rehearsed, every corner perfectly rounded.

The Cosmonauts at Slowdown Jr., Sept. 26, 2013.

The Cosmonauts at Slowdown Jr., Sept. 26, 2013.

They were followed by The Cosmonauts,  another finely honed punk band but this time with layers of hazy drone. They closed their set with a number that seemed to go on forever. By then I’d already moved from the side of the stage to a vacant booth in front of the soundboard and began tapping notes into my phone.

Behind me along the back wall was a virtual swap meet of merch, as if Burger Records had opened a pop-up store inside Slowdown. Maybe 20 different shirts hung from the wall, some with pot or drug references or crude drawings. The long table contained stacks of albums, CDs and cassettes, along with assorted other band junk like buttons and stickers. I wanted to buy a Pangea album but was told the only thing available was a cassette. I like cassettes and have a large collection of them as well as a top-quality TEAC tape deck, but the idea of paying $10 or whatever for a cassette didn’t thrill me and I ended up buying nothing.

Back outside in the beer garden I leaned against the fence by the locked entrance gate when two rather large women walked along the other side and pulled out one of those little chrome pipes. A member of one of the bands walked by and they offered him the pipe but he smiled and waved it off. “I can’t play when I’m high,” he said.

The Growlers came on before midnight looking like they just walked off stage at Woodstock or the 1967 Monterrey Jazz Festival or the Spahn Ranch. Big hair. Like the others, they were razor sharp. Frontman Brooks Nielsen, wearing overalls and a shirt that looked like pajama tops, sounded like Bob Dylan singing over Middle Eastern chant music. Also like Dylan, you couldn’t understand a word he was singing, but that was okay with their fans, a few of whom were mouthing the words along with Nielsen’s mumbling.

I love the idea of a record label taking their bands on the road. No doubt fans of one Burger Records band is familiar with the others, and it makes sense for everyone to travel together and share a backline for quick 15-minute swap outs between sets. I wondered why Saddle Creek hadn’t tried something like it during the label’s heyday. The closest I can remember was when Bright Eyes and The Faint shared a stage for a few shows (or at least one at Council Bluffs’ Mid-America Center).  It’s never too late.

* * *

After the bonanza of shows over the past two weeks, the weekend is looking light.

Tonight at fabulous O’Leaver’s Simon Joyner and The Ghosts co-headline with Iowa City’s Samuel Locke Ward Lo Fi Garbage Spectacular. $5, 9:30 p.m.

Also tonight, The Filter Kings opens for Denver’s Reno Divorce at The Sydney in Benson. $5, 10 p.m.

Saturday is Dundee Day and as per usual they’ve booked a lousy cover band for the evening beer garden. No matter because all the real action is taking place at Dario’s beer garden. Dario will start serving fine Belgium booze starting at noon along with pulled pork sandwiches and cheeseburgers.

Dario’s music starts at 5 p.m. and bands “include” No, I’m the Pilot, The Decatures, Old Money and Rock Paper Dynamite. No word on entrance fee but I think it was $5 last year. Always a good time.

Saturday night The Beat Seekers play at The Sydney with Fonzarellies and Greg Loftis. $5, 9 p.m.

And that’s it. If I missed anything, put it in the Comments section. Have a good weekend!

* * *

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 © 2013 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


  • Tonight (Friday Sept. 27) at the Waiting Room, REModeled returns to perform R.E.M.’s ‘Lifes Rich Pageant’, the fourth in their series of complete album shows. This was R.E.M.’s first gold record, featuring the singles ‘Fall on Me’ and ‘Superman’. REModeled only performs each album once, so don’t miss it!

    Comment by Chuck Davis — September 27, 2013 @ 2:08 pm

  • Explosions in the Sky are playing at the Bourbon in Lincoln tonight.

    Comment by Robert — September 27, 2013 @ 2:17 pm

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