Live Review: The Gardenheads, John Larsen; Son Ambulance tonight..

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , — @ 1:01 pm March 24, 2014
The Gardenheads at O'Leaver's, March 22, 2014.

The Gardenheads at O’Leaver’s, March 22, 2014.

by Tim McMahan,

I think there maybe was six people in the audience when The Gardenheads played at The Barley Street last year, and only two at the end of their set. The show was the same night (I think) as Real Estate down at Slowdown, and the Beatseekers opened and then promptly took their audience with them when they left.

Needless to say, there was a lot more on hand to see The Gardenheads Saturday night at O’Leaver’s, and for the most part, the band pulled it off, though I don’t remember their music sounding quite so…twangy. Their set was definitely more southern-fried than what you can hear on their record  — which can be a tough sell for O’Leaver’s garage-loving audience. Still, they did it well, playing the best songs off their current album along with a few rural-flavored oldies.

They capped it off with ball-busting set closer “Fucked Up Kids” which featured a drum solo followed by the drummer smashing his kit. Big finish indeed.

I knew what to expect with those guys; I had no idea who John Larsen was, and was knocked out by his solo guitar work. Do you call that a “touch technique” or “high fretboard strumming”? Whatever it was, it was amazing in its rhythmic virtuosity. A harmonica player sat in on a couple songs, giving the set more weight. I’ve been told that Larsen hasn’t been playing guitar that long, which I guess makes him kind of a genius. Check him out next time he time he plays.

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It’s a very special engagement tonight at Pageturners as Son Ambulance performs. Joe Knapp and Co. did a bang-up job at a sort of reunion show this past January (review here). I expect more of the same tonight. Opening is Andrew Ancona of Noah’s Ark Was a Spaceship. Show starts at 9:30 and is free.

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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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