Live Review: Eklectica, Brilliant Beast; Cursive, The Oh Hellos, Agronomo tonight…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , — @ 1:22 pm October 19, 2015
Eklectica at O'Leaver's, Oct. 17, 2015.

Eklectica at O’Leaver’s, Oct. 17, 2015.

by Tim McMahan,

Eklectica is an Omaha four-piece that features Ryan Menchaca on lead vocals and guitar. If you never heard of them, you’re not alone. They were a complete mystery to me prior to Saturday night’s show at O’Leaver’s, where they followed touring headliner Brilliant Beast. Turns out they’ve only been a group for a couple months. You may recognize Menchaca from his support role in the live version of Icky Blossoms.

Seems like in some circles, frontmen are almost penalized for having a good voice. Menchaca has a high, sweet delivery that’s as good as it gets for a rock band. After the set, a few people were sort of criticizing him for it, saying he sounded “too commercial,” whatever that means. Other folks compared his voice to a couple popular indie acts and mainstream artists. Needless to say, clear, sweet vocals are not the norm at O’Leaver’s, where patrons are used to hearing growling screams or indecipherable mewing.

Ekletica’s music rolled with a ’60s psych vibe, sounding like something headed to Woodstock, but combined with modern touches and progressive nuance. All well played and interesting, though the songs tended to draw out, bordering dangerously close to jam band territory (And we can’t have that). Menchaca announced from stage that Ecklectica has a record coming out in the coming months. At this point in their evolution the band could go just about any direction — toward gritty psych-garage or to more refined Jack Johnson / Dave Matthews noodling. Here’s hoping for the former rather than the latter.

Brilliant Beast, Oct. 17, 2015.

Brilliant Beast at O’Leaver’s, Oct. 17, 2015.

Just before Eklectica, Brilliant Beast played a set of dreamy, underwater shoegaze that’s about as close as I’ve heard anyone at O’Leaver’s come to emulating the essence of that ’90s subgenre. They definitely had the whole Ride/My Bloody Valentine warm-tone style, complete with shimmering, slightly-off-kilter guitar effects that rocked as much as left you feeling uneasy. I honored Cassette Store Day by buying their yet-to-be-released collection on cassette, Dissolve, which is definitely worth finding on Bandcamp.

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There currently are 239 people in Facebook who say they’re going to O’Leaver’s tonight for the Cursive show. That could make for a rather packed room. Maybe they should take the show out to the sand volleyball pit?  Seriously, if you haven’t seen Cursive in the intimate confines of O’Leaver’s, do yourself a favor. It’s an entirely different concert experience than seeing them at a large venue like TWR. No doubt 239 people are not going to show up tonight (Are Facebook invitations ever accurate?), but expect a heated crowd. Get there early and see Chicago band Bellum Bocca and Buffalo, New York band Miwi La Lupa (Team Love Records). $5, 9 p.m.

It’s a busy Monday.

Down at The Slowdown massive folk ensemble The Oh Hellos are headlining an entire night of folk. The San Marcos, Texas, band is a brother-sister act surrounded by about a dozen friends playing music reminiscent of Okkervile River and Sufjan Stevens, among others. Opening are equally large bands Family and Friends, and Cereus Bright. $15, 9 p.m.

And over at Reverb Lounge Caleb Hawley headlines. He’s described as an American soul singer influenced by Stevie Wonder. What caught my attention were the openers. Tara Vaughan and Agronomo, a band that features uber-talented James Cuato Ballarin, Luke Polipnick, John Evans and local legend Dereck Higgins. Their style has been described as fusion combined with some improvisation. Check it out.  $8, 9 p.m.

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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 © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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