Live Review: Cultural Attraction, Sons of O’Leaver’s, Little Brazil sing ‘Happy Birthday’…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , — @ 12:46 pm June 13, 2016
Cultural Attraction at O'Leaver's, June 11, 2016.

Cultural Attraction at O’Leaver’s, June 11, 2016.

by Tim McMahan,

About halfway through the Sons of O’Leaver’s set Saturday night, frontman Kelly Maxwell pulled out something draped on a coat hanger, covered in what appeared to be white butcher’s paper, and presented it to man-of-the-hour, bass player Mike Tulis. I didn’t take notes, but Maxwell said something like, “We usually wear jackets when we play, but it’s just too hot up here.” (It was abysmally hot inside O’Leaver’s despite the AC blowing full blast).

BTW, this moment happened halfway through a song halfway through the set, while the band played on. Maxwell pulled the butcher paper from the hanger to reveal an impressive black sports jacket, heavy wool, probably around a 38 regular. Spray-painted on back in white: the number 50. The crowd went wild as Tulis held it high, later donning the jacket for the rest of the set.

Saturday night not only was a celebration of Tulis’ 50th birthday, but also 25 years of Tulis performing in bands, the first of which kicked off the evening. Cultural Attraction played a solid selection of songs from their two cassette releases from the early ’90s. Highlights included trippy acoustic-driven versions of such chestnuts as the politically charged “Anita Hill,” and personal favorite “Good Ol’ Days,” wherein the singer had to refer to a sheet of notebook paper. That was the only song, however, where notes were needed.

Cultural Attraction’s groovy, acoustic-guitar driven music was propelled by John Riley pounding away on a fine set of  congas. Yes, congas. But the real power of their music came from the voices and the harmonies, which were as strong as ever. CA drew the biggest crowd of the night, a testimony to a band that likely hasn’t played together in 20 years.

Sons of O'Leaver's, June 11, 2016.

Sons of O’Leaver’s, June 11, 2016.

They were followed by Sons of O’Leaver’s. The four-piece, that features Tulis on bass and Matt Rutledge on guitar, sounds sort of like a cross between early Spoon (Maxwell’s voice is a gravelly version of Britt Daniel’s) and The Replacements. Drummer Mike Loftis’ stick work was particularly impressive Saturday night.

Little Brazil at O'Leaver's, June 11, 2016.

Little Brazil at O’Leaver’s, June 11, 2016.

Little Brazil closed out the evening with a short set that included a handful of songs off their upcoming record. Frontman Landon Hedges led the crowd in an impromptu version of “Happy Birthday” that included an interlude where Tulis thanked everyone for coming out. Good times indeed.

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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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