Live Review: Leafblower, Millions of Boys; Sad13, Closeness, Flowers Forever, Filter Kings, Wagon Blasters, Gogol Bordello tonight; Silversphere Saturday…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , — @ 1:35 pm November 25, 2016
Leafblower at O'Leaver's Nov. 23, 2016.

Leafblower at O’Leaver’s Nov. 23, 2016.

by Tim McMahan,

Leafblower is trying to bring back heavy metal as we know it, or as I knew it. The four-piece, that consists of members of Danny Maxwell’s New Lungs, is a true band project, driven as much by Craig Fort and drummer Tab Tworek as guitarist John Svatos and DMax. The crew played to a nicely packed crowd at O’Leaver’s Wednesday night, donning matching sleeveless jumpsuits with the band’s logo on the back — a screen print of their mannequin mascot, Tim, created by artist/musician Pat Oakes. That mannequin would play a central role later in the set.

While New Lungs is a heavy indie band, Leafblower is a rock band that borders on metal, with stoner overtones. Their music sounds like upbeat Black Sabbath combined with ’90s Seattle, but with better dynamics, great drops and twisted guitar solos. The closest regional comparisons (to me) are ’90s acts Cactus Nerve Thang and Ritual Device. Vocals, mostly by DMax, are of the bellow/yell variety, with Fort adding his own howl. I couldn’t tell you what they were yelling about, but they sounded like they meant it.

In addition to a knack for throbbing, head-shaking riffs, what makes these guys stand out is Svatos’ weird guitar solos and effects treatments and fast-strum riffage that counters what Dmax is doing on his ax and Fort’s own bass maneuvers that often telegraphed where the melody was headed. There were moments when all three followed the same flight plan with layered metal harmonies while Tworek pushed everything forward on his kit.

Halfway through the set, someone queued the fog machine, which consisted of smoke barreling out of mannequin Tim’s leaf blower. Before the song ended you couldn’t see anyone on stage through the smokey haze.

This was only their fourth show, and I have no idea if they’re recording any of this stuff, though I definitely would like to hear it cranked up downstairs on my Boston Acoustics. Watch for these guys.

Opening was the return of Millions of Boys, after a year or so hiatus. The trio cranked out their unique brand of ’90s-influenced post punk (bordering on pop-punk). It’s great to see Sara Bertuldo keep this one going what with everything that’s happening with her other band, See Through Dresses. For me MofBs is the funner of her two projects, with Alex Van Beaumont sharing the vocals (not sure who has the higher voice) and Ryan Haas crushing the kit.

The set was mostly new material, and word on the street is that the band is working on a followup to their debut, Competing For Your Love (2012, Golden Sound), that could be out later this year. Stay tuned.

* * *

Tonight is the busiest night of the holiday weekend with multiple hot shows happening.

Perhaps the hottest is Sad13 at Milk Run with Mannequin Pussy and Vagabon. Sad13, as you know by now, is Sadie Dupuis of Speedy Ortiz, whose new album, Slugger (2016, Carpark) has been getting raves. You’d think this show would have been better suited at a much larger venue, considering Speedy Ortiz has played Maha in the past. But Dupuis has always played house shows (which Milk Run, with its all-ages policy, resembles) including past gigs at West Wing. With a capacity well below 100, you’d think tonight’s show would have sold out a long time ago. Tickets are $10, show starts at 9. And before you go, read my 10 Questions article with Sadie, that went online earlier this week.

Maybe the reason Sad13 isn’t sold out is because of the blowout at Reverb tonight — Flowers Forever headlines with Closeness and InDreama. Flowers recently played a return set at O’Leaver’s that was knock-out, while Closeness (Todd & Orenda Fink’s new joint) is one of the best new arrivals of 2016. InDreama — a project featuring Icky Blossoms’ guitarist Nik Fackler— only plays once or twice a year. Great line-up! 9 p.m. $8.

Also tonight, another hot ticket as The Filter Kings plays at Brothers Lounge with the unstoppable Wagon Blasters. $5, 9 p.m.

Meanwhile downtown, the crazy circus antics of Gogol Bordello returns to The Slowdown tonight. DJ Der Blaster opens. $30, 9 p.m.

And over at The Waiting Satchel Grande brings the party with All Young Girls Are Machine Guns. $8, 9 p.m.

That’s a lot of choices. On the other hand, there’s not much happening on Saturday night. In fact, the only show on my radar is Silversphere (ex-The Lepers) at O’Leaver’s with Hussies and Chalant. $5, 9 p.m.

That’s all I got for the weekend. If I missed your show, put it in the comments section.

Hopefully you’re hitting the records stores today for Black Friday vinyl specials. Seems like this year’s RSD/Black Friday sale has been low-key – I’ve heard almost nothing about it. Fewer crowds means more for you to buy!

Have a great weekend.

* * *

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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