Live Review: Candy Boys, Not Funny at O’Leaver’s…

Category: Reviews — Tags: , , — @ 1:02 pm July 16, 2018

Candy Boys at O’Leaver’s July 13, 2018.

by Tim McMahan,

Candy Boys is John Klemmensen exorcising his demons with an electric guitar and his candy voice. Glean what you will from the lyrics, which one assumes reflect what he’s been through for the past few years. The interpretation is made easier thanks to the fact that Klemmensen always has been one of the few local singers who actually a-nun-ci-ates — i.e., you can hear and understand every word of his world-worn lyrics.

And while Klemmensen was never one to hold back (remember all that stuff about doing cocaine all night from his debut album?), these new songs are even more confessional though no less personal, or at least that’s my take. One guy said to me after the show, “Classic Klemmesen, funny as ever,” though I didn’t hear much Friday night worth laughing at.

That’s not to say this is downer music. Half the songs have that same Motown-by-way-of-New Jersey quality; the other half felt like a re-imagining of Mould’s Black Sheets of Rain — a record Klemmesen had never heard of, btw. He implied that their style is almost intentionally sloppy. If so, I couldn’t tell. Klemmensen’s guitar work was on point, heavy, soulful; and his band — bassist Vern Fergesen and drummer Daniel Dean Leonard — were perfect complements.

So yeah, Klemmensen is back. But are people listening? I didn’t see many familiar faces in that crowd of about 40 (only one, to be exact). Has his lost years meant also losing an audience he worked so hard to develop?

Not Funny at O’Leaver’s, July 13, 2018.

Opener Not Funny was an acoustic-driven 3-piece whose frontman, Aaron David Wrigley, has a unique vocal style that zigs, zags, squeaks and pops. If I had to draw a comparison I’d say it sounds like a combination of John Darnielle (of the Mountain Goats) with Jim Carrey’s acting career – passionate, but all over the place.

Musically there’s a Mountain Goats / Decemberists/ Violent Femmes thing going on, but with more syncopated riffage (the bass really carries these songs). The drawback was that their set was twice as long as it should have been, and by the end, they cleared the room.

* * *

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 © 2018 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

No Comments

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.