Josh Hoyer and the Shadowboxers CD release show tonight; Neutral Milk Hotel Saturday (no cameras allowed!)…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , — @ 2:13 pm March 28, 2014
Josh Hoyer and the Shadowboxers celebrate their CD release at The Hive tonight.

Josh Hoyer and the Shadowboxers celebrate their CD release at The Hive tonight.

by Tim McMahan,

I don’t write much about blues music. I leave that to the expert — B.J. Huchtemann. B.J.’s been writing about local music as long as I have, maybe longer. She, too, was part of the Omaha bullpen of Lawrence music magazine The Note way back in the early ’90s, and has had a column in The Reader that pre-dates my own. Her forte, her focus always has been the blues and I challenge anyone to find another local music journalist who has written more about the topic than B.J. So with that, I acquiesce all intelligent introspection on the new Josh Hoyer and the Shadowboxers album to her. You can find her writings every week in The Reader and online at The Reader website (Her latest is right here).

That said, I do know something about the kind of horn-powered blues that Hoyer is known for. I know my way around a saxophone. I played tenor and alto in high school jazz bands, and I’ve listened to my share of his style of R&B over the years. I’m no expert, but I know what I like and don’t like, and I most certainly like Hoyer’s new project. I liked his old project, The Son of 76 and The Watchmen, too. But to me, this new outfit is more realized, more thought-out and swings more righteously.

On his website, Hoyer says he borrows from Stax, Motown, New Orleans and San Francisco. There’s something in his vocals that remind me of Dr. John as much as Robert Cray. But from an indie perspective, I’d slide Hoyer into the same category as funk/soul maven Sharon Jones + the Dap-Kings, though Jones’/Dap-Kings’ sound is more ’60 traditional/revivalist than Hoyer’s more modern take on the genre. I say this because Jones is an accepted commodity among indie-music followers (and for good reason); Hoyer deserves the same acceptance since his music is just as dirty, just as authentic in its own way.

It’s one of those records you can put on while you do your thing. It pushes you along, it gives you whatever you need to get by, if only for the afternoon, or the night, with as much attitude as you’ll need. Always gutsy, usually free-wheeling, and above all, never corny (and when it comes to modern blues, that’s key). Don’t over-think it, just enjoy it. You want more detail? Ask B.J. or even better, check out the album yourself.

So I say all this because Hoyer and the Shadowboxers are celebrating the release of their debut album tonight at The Hive, a new rock club and art gallery at 1207 Harney St. The club is known as a sort of 311 tribute bar (hence the name). I’ve yet to step foot inside, but have heard good things about their space and sound. $5, 10 p.m.

Also tonight, London acoustic balladeer Bear’s Den plays at The Waiting Room with Landon Hedges (Little Brazil). $12, 9 p.m.

Meanwhile, See Through Dresses headlines a show down at Slowdown Jr. with Dan Mariska And The Boys Choir, and The Boy & His Wolves. $7, 9 p.m.

Over at The Sydney there’s a going away party for Tom and Lindsay Barrett which will feature a performance by Tom’s new project, Xendless, which consists of Barrett (DJ- keys loops), Chad Gregerson (drummer of Dead wave) keys loops and Erin Eckerman (vocals). Huge Fucking Waves also is on the bill. Starts at 9.

Meanwhile, at fabulous O’Leaver’s it’s Des Moines band The River Monks with Kaloko and Brad Hoshaw. $5, 9:30 p.m.

And finally tonight at Sweatshop gallery it’s the JT Bonafide T-Shirt Art show with performances by The Filter Kings and The Lupines. It’s free and starts at 8.

Tomorrow night (Saturday) it’s the long-awaited Neutral Milk Hotel show at Sokol Auditorium. This one has been sold out forever. Opening is ’90s indie legends Elf Power. A note for the lucky ones who got tickets: According to the One Percent website, no photography or video recording of any kind is allowed, and that includes cell phones! Start time is 8 p.m.

Also Saturday night, Matt Whipkey and his band play at The Hive. $5, 9 p.m.

Did I forget anything? Put it in the comments section. Have a grand weekend…

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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 © 2014 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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