Live Review: Color Green at Reverb; Size Queen at The Sydney…

Category: Reviews — Tags: , , , — @ 11:50 am March 19, 2024

Color Green at Reverb Lounge, March 18, 2024.

By Tim McMahan,

Size Queen is a new LimOma band whose members include drummer Sam Crisler – one of the bookers of this year’s Lincoln Calling Festival. Last night I sat in The Sidney and watched Sam meticulously build his drum kit for a half-hour, wondering when the band would actually start playing. In the pre-Covid days, everyone knew an 8 p.m. start time meant a 9 p.m. start, but post-Covid most clubs have been insistent about start times, especially during weeknights. And yet, here we were at 8:30 as Crisler slowly placed one half of a high hat on the pull rod, then the next, then slowly tightened the clutch. I can’t say’s I blame them – the longer you wait, the bigger the crowd, right?

But the plan was to watch Size Queen play at The Sydney and then race across Benson and catch the show at Reverb, which was happening at the same time. Sure, I’d miss Heavy Clippings, but I just saw them last weekend at Goatfest but figured I could still catch The Dirts. Well, you know what they say about plans…

Size Queen at The Sydney, March 18, 2024.

Size Queen finally took the stage a little after 9 p.m. The only other person’s name I know in the band is guitarist Sam Lipsett, who also plays in Cat Piss. I’ve also met the bass player Jessy Hunt before, but knew nothing about the front person (who I’ve come to find out is Rosemary Ellis). 

The band’s sound was feral and combative, aggressive but controlled. I guess you’d call it post-punk, but much heavier and faster, bordering on hardcore, though Crisler’s drumming (thankfully) was more creative and interesting than the usual straight-four hardcore rhythms that seem only designed for moshing. Crisler’s drum work has a definite hard-rock persona that blended well with Lipsett’s feedback-driven, heavy-ass riffs and the solid bass lines. 

Above it all was the whirling-dervish front person who spewed undecipherable yell vocals, struggling to be heard above the rest of the noise. I’ve seen noise-rock bands who tried doing this style of music without a vocalist, and (for me) it rarely works. You’ve got to have someone out front screaming something, whether you know what they’re screaming or not — it adds a necessary counter to everything else going on. It’s risky, and Size Queen’s vocalist pulled it off. 

The band’s 15-minute set was a nod to ‘90s post-punk, more so, say, than grunge, though I was reminded of Skinyard, and the guy next to me (a legend in his own right) referenced Royal Trux. Plucinski’s Cat Piss has a similar but more focused bombast, and no doubt Size Queen will get there, too – remember, this was only their second show (and their first time in Omaha).

Heavy Clippings at Reverb Lounge, March 18, 2024.

By the time I got to Reverb, I’d already missed The Dirts, who played first (not how the bill was listed). On stage in front of a full room was Heavy Clippings sounding louder and more aggressive than at Goatfest/Scriptown last weekend. The band has a handful of singles available on Bandcamp that you can check out here. Those Bandcamp tracks sound more like demos, and one can only hope they’re leading up to a proper LP release in the near future. 

There is (and has been for years) an undercurrent of a “scene” going on in Omaha associated with the record stores The Antiquarium, Almost Music, and now Grapefruit Records. At the heart is Simon Joyner, who continues to produce amazing, vital records and seems to always be on the road touring. While Joyner is globally recognized by a niche audience, another Grapefruit Records regular, David Nance (and his current band, Mowed Sound), has probably garnered the largest fan base, thanks to a catalog of solid recordings, lots of touring, and a recent release on Jack White’s Third Man Records. Heavy Clippings also is part of this scene – a band fronted by Noah Sterba with Jeff Sedrel on bass — their sound fuses singer/songwriter Americana with a unique Midwestern flair.

Others that fall into this Omaha record store scene include Sean Pratt, Nathan Ma, Megan Siebe, Jim Schroeder, I’m sure many more. The group has been around for years – stretching back to the ‘90s – making their own DIY recordings and playing DIY shows. When anyone asks about an “Omaha Sound,” this is what comes to mind more than anything (including early Saddle Creek Records artists, who never had a central, common thread soundwise).

Though they’re from Los Angeles, Color Green has a connection to this scene via one of the band’s two core members – Noah Kohll — a former Omahan and fellow record store hanger-outer who likely has played alongside all these Antiquarium/Almost Music/Grapefruit folks at one time or another.  With fellow guitarist Corey Madden, Kohll has taken that Midwestern sound and fused it with something akin to Allman Bros./Derek and the Dominos-style blues rock to create something both new and familiar, and strikingly beautiful. 

At the heart of it is the gorgeous, intricate guitar play between Kohll and Madden that last night was spotlighted in intros that gracefully led into the songs, some sang by Kohll, others by Madden, harmonized sparingly by the band’s female drummer and bass player (whose names I don’t know but who were spectacular). 

Playing in the dark with only overhead stage lights, Color Green’s hour-long set consisted mostly of songs off their gorgeous 2022 self-titled album, released by ORG Music. And while that record is something you should seek out immediately, it doesn’t hold a candle to the band’s live performance, which took it all to the next level — the best guitar interplay I’ve heard in years (and that includes recent Nance/Schroeder slugfests). The band’s dynamics ranged from heavy riff-rock to bluesy mellow balladry that sounded like The Allman Bros. playing a cover of Led Zep’s “The Rain Song” – a comparison that I’m sure will make the Grapefruit Records folks cringe. 

Toward the end of the set, Kohll talked about his Omaha roots and even pointed out his parents in the crowd, saying the show was kind of a homecoming. That being the case, welcome home, Mr. Kohll. And please, don’t be a stranger.

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Tonight at The Waiting Room, Atlanta-based self-described emo/indie punk Michael Cera Palin headlines a four-band bill that includes locals Trees With Eyes, Valley Street and Dullparty. $15, 8 p.m.

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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 © 2024 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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