Live review: Heavy Clippings; The Baseball Project tonight…

Category: Blog — @ 9:52 am July 8, 2024
Heavy Clippings at Reverb Lounge, July 7, 2024.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

I got reverse Omaha’d last night, but it’s all good.

I weighed my options: Do I go see the classic ‘70s/‘80s punk band that’s on their last tour who I’ve seen before in a place that’s bound to be a crush mob or do I see the new band who’s just coming through town to play for what I expect to be a mostly empty venue?

I chose the latter, mainly because if I had to pull a CD from either band to listen to right now I’d chose TV Stars, who played at Reverb Lounge last night.  Nothing against X, who played at The Waiting Room last night. They’re great. Good luck in your retirement, John, Exene, Billy and DJ. 

Anyway, i decided to watch the end of the Yankees game (they lost) before showing up at around 9 p.m., figuring with three bands I’d only miss the opener, Cupholder, who I’ve also seen before. Heavy Clippings was just taking the stage when I arrived. 

Playing in front of a audience that numbered a grand total of 10 patrons, Noah Sterba and his crew ripped into an amazing set of music that to me sounds like a reimagined version of The Feelies meets latter-day VU/Lou Reed combined with New Morning-era Bob Dylan and Simon Joyner to create something wholly unique and captivating. In honor of this performance I wore an Almost Music T-shirt, which was the music store that carried on a tradition of The Antiquarium, and was the kind of place where members of this band either hung out or worked (after it closed, that tradition is continuing at Grapefruit Records in the Old Market, which is a magnet for the area’s most creative, inspiring indie bands).

Noah Sterba is at the helm on guitar and vocals with former Yuppies sideman Jeff Sedrel. The band is rounded out by Vince Franco and Tanner Rogerson. To my knowledge, their music is not available in any recorded format, but they must be recording somewhere because their songs are polished and they play just enough songs to fill a traditional vinyl LP – a make-believe LP that I long to play on my vintage/shitty Technics turntable. 

The set was flawless. Sterba was in fine form in his  ?-mark ball cap and Birkenstock sandals, clearly having a great time despite the tidy little crowd that included two young women who danced throughout their entire set, a young, bookish couple seated along the wall and a two or three dudes who stood in the center of the floor properly nodding their heads to the beat.

They wrapped up their set and I sat back down in one of the booths when, boom, the lights came up. The show’s over? The bartender said Cupholder played a short set and TV Star came on second. I wonder if they were afraid of getting Omaha’d. Who knows; all I know is that I missed their entire set. Still, I got my money’s worth seeing Heavy Clippings, who are on the top of my list of favorite local bands.

The Baseball Project plays tonight at The Waiting Room.

There’s no chance of that happening tonight at The Waiting Room. The Baseball Project, tonight’s headliner, doesn’t have an opener – or at least none is listed on the One Percent Productions website. 

The Baseball Project is a dyed-in-the-wool supergroup made out of the remnants of ’80s indie pop bands. But can you call it a supergroup if only two of its members were part of a megaband? Peter Buck and Mike Mills are world-renowned members of R.E.M., a band who re-emerged in the natinonal zeitgeist recently with their induction into the “songwriters hall of fame” which culminated with a one-song R.E.M. reunion at the ceremony.

Steve Wynn, who handles most of singing in The Baseball Project, was the frontman to ‘80s band The Dream Syndicate, but I remember him best as the guy in ‘90s band Gutterball. Steve McCaughey was a member of The Minus 5 and Tuatara with Buck. Wynn’s wife, Linda Pitmon of Zuzu’s Petals, rounds out the band on drums. 

They’re on the road in support of last year’s album, Grand Salami Time! (Omnivore Recordings). The band lives up to its name – they play songs about baseball, with names like “Pete Rose Way,” “Ted Fucking Williams,” “Monument Park” and “New Oh in Town,” which is a tribute to Dodgers’ superstar Shohei Ohtani. The music sounds like what you’d expect from such a supergroup playing songs with lyrics about our national past-time. Don’t go to the show tonight thinking you’re going to hear covers of R.E.M. or Dream Syndicate songs cuz it ain’t happening.

As mentioned, no opener is listed. The show is slated for 8 p.m. Tickets are $30. 

* * *

Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — 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.

No Comments »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment

Lazy-i