Live Review: Dolores Diaz & the Standby Club; So So Glos tonight…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , — @ 12:51 pm May 23, 2016
Dolores Diaz & The Standby Club at The Waiting Room, May 21, 2016.

Dolores Diaz & The Standby Club at The Waiting Room, May 21, 2016.

by Tim McMahan,

You wouldn’t have thought Saturday night’s show at The Waiting Room was only the second live gig for Dolores Diaz & the Standby Club. But then again, we’re talking about a band filled with music veterans doing what they do best.

The band, which includes Conor Oberst and his wife, Corina Figueroa, surrounded by some of the best musicians in town (read about the band’s origins here), fancies itself as a country & western act but really falls into the Americana / country rock category. I was reminded of Robbie Robertson and The Band throughout Saturday night’s set, how each member sang lead on a handful of C&W classics not so much in an effort to replicate the original’s sound, but to adapt its style to a modern construction.

That said, you could point to a handful of players that added a level of authenticity to the proceedings. First on the list was pedal steel player Mike Mogis, because let’s face it, pedal steel makes everything sound country, and as a world-class producer, Mogis knows his way around any genre. Dan McCarthy’s keyboards also brought a classic western feel to the arrangements, and then, surprisingly, Matt Maginn’s bass work included all the note bends heard on the honky-tonk circuit.

Maybe most authentic of all was Figueroa, who sang leads on about half the songs. Figueroa’s rough-edged voice is pure Tammy Wynette. What she lacks in range she makes up for in heart, throwing herself into every note, leaving little doubt that she loves this music. Joining Figueroa was a new face to the Standby Club — First Aid Kit’s Klara Söderberg, going by the stage name of Greta Soundmountain, whose spot-on pitch brought everything into focus.

The band split their performance into two sets with a brief intermission. The first set featured a lot of the same songs played this past January at O’Leaver’s (which you can hear online here). The highlight was a new song featuring Phil Schaffart, who was absent during their debut performance. Schaffart, a giant of a man with a high voice reminiscent of Neil Young’s, covered John Prine’s “Speed of the Sound of Loneliness.” Gorgeous stuff.

Another new song from the first set was “Stay a Little Longer” by Bob Willis and His Texas Playboys. If you’re wondering how I know this with zero background in country music, the secret involved tapping song lyrics into Google.

The band took five and then came back with a rocking version of Jerry Reed’s “Amos Moses” featuring Miwi La Lupa on lead vocals. Figueroa and Greta sang a duet of Skeeter Davis’ “The End of the World,” which was followed by Oberst belting out the Felice Brothers’ “Rockefeller Drug Law Blues.”

As he did in January, Oberst performed Randy Newman’s “Jolly Coppers on Parade.” He was in good voice, looking a bit isolated and laid back playing guitar at stage-right in crumpled jacket and jet-black fright-wig hairdo. He led the band on the night’s final song, a round robin version of the Dylan song he sang in January, but sharing verses with his cohorts.

Saturday night’s show was well attended. No idea of the final number, but it was crowded throughout the bar, and the event had a rock concert feel to it despite the C&W content. Was it “real country”? It was certainly more real than the mainstream “bro-country” that dots the charts these days, though the overall tone felt more like something Levon Helm would admire.

I have no doubt if the entire band had the capacity to tour, Dolores Diaz & the Standby Club could do well on the road, but Oberst said there were no plans for anything like that. This one’s just for fun, something to share with his friends and his fans before he hits the road again for a handful of solo dates this summer, topped by three days at the Austin City Limits Festival in October. After that, who knows.

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Tonight at fabulous O’Leaver’s Brooklyn punk rockers So So Glos headline. Opening is Canadian band The Dirty Nil and our very own Montee Men. $5, 9:30 p.m. This one should be fun.

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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 © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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