Live Review: Violenteer, The Sun-Less Trio; Jon Spencer and the HITmakers CANCELLED…

Category: Reviews — Tags: , — @ 12:56 pm April 18, 2022
Violenteer at O’Leaver’s, April 15, 2022.

by TIm McMahan,

Has it really been more than two years since I went to a show at O’Leaver’s?

The Club first closed due to COVID-19 in March 2020. I think the last show I saw there prior to that was Lincoln band Perfect Form, who played O’Leaver’s in February 2020.

Stepping back through the doors Friday night, it felt like nothing changed. They added booths up near the “stage” and moved the piano over to along the wall where I like to lean on stage left. Maybe that was the reason the room felt a little smaller, tighter than I remembered. Everything else was the same, though, even the smell. And there were plenty of familiar faces in the crowd who I haven’t seen at a rock show since before the plague came to town. It was good to be back.

Violenteer is a band that consists of former members of classic Omaha Golden Age band Ritual Device. Randy Cotton and his brother, Barry, are up front providing a double-bass attack while drummer Eric Ebers keeps the flow going with gusto. I expected the trio to sound like the next iteration of Rondy’s follow-up to Ritual Device, a pseudo metal-punk band called Ravine. But Violenteer surprised me by its variety of styles that ranged from punk, math and best of all, a psychedelic throb reminiscent of early Pink Floyd.

The highlight of the evening was the second song of their set, an instrumental (as most songs were) that built in intensity and gravity, recalling the heavier moments of Floyd’s Meddle. Barry and Randy created balanced counter melodies that gave the music a surprising dimension. Almost as interesting were a couple prog/mathy instrumentals, and less so the punk stuff where one or both Cottons provided some yell vocals, but hey, you have to mix it up, right?

The Sun-Less Trio at O’Leaver’s, April 15, 2022.

Opening was Mike Saklar’s The Sun-Less Trio. Mike also is a former member of Ritual Device and Ravine, though this trio’s bread and butter is psych rock with classic rock leanings, powered by Saklar’s guitar prowess, which is somewhat legendary.

Like I said, it was good to be back to O’Leaver’s. And if you missed it, there’s another show next month with Wagon Blasters. That said, I’m skeptical O’Leaver’s will ever be what it once was — the go-to place for small touring punk bands and indie acts to land between tour stops, where any night of the week you could be surprised at who you might be seeing and hearing. That these shows are free makes me think they’re merely a nod to their past, a sort of musical philanthropy that the owners realize we all need after two years of pandemic.

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Speaking of pandemics, tonight’s Jon Spencer and the HITmakers show slated for The Waiting Room has been cancelled. Last night’s show at 7th Avenue in Minneapolis also was cancelled due to someone in Spencer’s band coming down with COVID. When is this pandemic going to end?

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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 © 2022 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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