Lawrence invasion: Blanky, Virga with The Dirts, Garst at Reverb tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 7:49 am April 3, 2024

Lawrence band Blanky plays tonight at Reverb Lounge.

by Tim McMahan,

Two Lawrence, Kansas, bands make the long trip up I-29 today to play at Reverb Lounge tonight.

Blanky has been described as an “alt-country shoegaze” band. Alt-country? Um, nah. Shoegaze? Maybe. Languid, distorted, feedback-fueled, drunken, surf-guitar songs that feel like a morning-after hangover? Sure, especially on their latest album, 2022’s Blood Harmony

Blanky frontman Anthony Cunard has a deep, dry, low voice that sings sordid tales of cautionary love with lines like, “You fell to your death in your baby’s arms / I guess that’s one way to get away,” that sound like a distorted funeral procession… but in a good way. Cinematic murder films shot in black-and-white. 

Very likely driving to Omaha in the same van as Blanky is Virga, who according to The Pitch, classify themselves as “gothic Americana,” which for me sort of misses the mark. Their sound is reminiscent of ‘90s acts like Madder Rose, Lisa Germano, Cowboy Junkies and Kristen Hersh. Stark, slow, indie rock songs that build over their four-minute lifespans, guided by frontwoman Faith Maddox’s gorgeous voice that recalls Margo Timmins. 

T’was a time in the early ‘90s when LinOma and Lawrence swapped bands on a regular basis, almost as if the two regions were part of one post-punk alt-indie scene. Maybe we should get back to that?

Like all the best shows, tonight’s is a study in contrasts considering the Omaha bands that are also on the bill. Garst plays a more straight-forward, riff-fueled indie that borders on alt-rock. The Dirts includes a member of Garst, but the band, who I saw open for Hotline TNT, is something completely different. You’ll see. 

Four acts on a Wednesday? It’s going to be a long night. Bands take the Reverb stage at 8 p.m. — and please be prompt! Those Lawrence folks have a long way to drive back home. $12.  

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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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