Unsane (noise-punk originators), Violenteer, Big Water at Reverb tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 8:25 am February 23, 2023
Violenteer at The Slowdown, May 4, 2022. The band opens for Unsane tonight at Reverb.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Yeah, Unsane music is intensely hard, but unlike traditional hardcore or modern death-metal, the band’s music carries an undeniable thread of melody and counter-melody that glows through the depths of the ricochet-hand grenade rhythms. Start with a hard-fast guitar riff, layer on top a feedback-fueled lead guitar, and then sing-scream electro-distorted lyrics about alienation, fear and retribution while the drums/bass lay down a strangely funky groove and you’ve got the recipe for an Unsane song. It’s a recipe I heard repeated by many, many bands since Unsane kicked things off with their 1991 self-titled debut album on Matador Records — you know, the one with the decapitated dude on the cover.

Unlike mega-popular metal acts Metallica or Slayer that reveal a cheesy/campy center to their fist-pump rock, Unsane music feels and sounds dark, groovy and sinister. Their music is technically smarter and more compact than your typical goon-rock growl metal, which I can only listen to for about 10 seconds before saying “Turn that shit off.” The fact that Unsane is still touring today is somewhat amazing. 

Randy Cotton, who’s band Violenteer opens tonight’s Unsane show at Reverb Lounge, tells me Unsane recently obtained the rights to their early material, and they’ve remastered and re-released their first S/T record, as well as an album of previously unreleased material recorded before that. “This tour mainly focuses on that early material,” Randy said.

Violenteer will be unveiling a new singer/noisescape artist at tonight’s show. “His name is Steve Tulipana (Season To Risk, Roman Numerals, Slights, or Drop A Grand), and he resides in Kansas City,” Cotton said. “We are super-stoked about it. He will be entering the studio next month to record on our album as well.”

Tulipana is bringing his KC friends Big Water to open tonight’s festivities. The band includes Matt Perrin, formerly of the band Bummer.  “Bummer had really blown up nationally in the last few years,” Cotton said. “They had a sense of humor somewhat reminiscent of Killdozer, yet it was all their own. One writer described Bummer as being sort of like Nirvana on meth.” 

Any other night I’d expect this show to sell out at Reverb Lounge, but the sub-zero windchill could keep folks at home. $15, Big Water kicks things off at 8 p.m. 

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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 © 2023 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Ten Questions with Tobin Sprout (@Reverb Friday); Unsane, Ocean Black, Blondie, Garbage tonight…

Category: Interviews — Tags: , , , — @ 12:49 pm July 19, 2017

Tobin Sprout and his band plays Reverb Lounge Friday, July 21.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Most know Tobin Sprout as a former member of seminal indie band Guided by Voices. Alongside Robert Pollard, Sprout gouged a unique pattern into the surface of indie rock for more than a decade, eventually splitting with the band only to return to the GBV fold from time to time.

As a solo artist, Sprout continues to create his own, unique style of rock that combines the tunefulness of The Beatles and The Byrds with modern lo-fi garage rock. His latest album, The Universe and Me (2017, Burger) — his sixth solo album and first in seven years — is a gorgeous collection of songs that rocks with a child-like winsomeness that cloaks sober topics that range from superheroes to life after loss.

I caught up with Tobin and asked him to take our Ten Questions survey. Here’s what he had to say:

1. What is your favorite album? 

Tobin Sprout: I don’t have one.

2. What is your least favorite song?

“Send In The Clowns.” Makes me want to rip my skin off.

3. What do you enjoy most about being in a band?

Playing live and recording.

4. What do you hate about being in a band?

The driving mostly, but I’ve learned to relax and enjoy the time.

5. What is your favorite substance (legal or illegal)?

Beer, Miller Lite but I’m starting to change to Amstel Light, but it can be skunked sometimes. Also like Leinenkugel Summer Shandy. Good beer when cutting the grass.

6. In what city or town do you love to perform?

We’ve had all great shows on this tour. Brillobox in Pittsburgh comes to mind. Real small club but packed. Johnny Brenda’s in Philly. Great stage, crowd. Big Room Bar in Columbus, Asheville Mothlight. So many cool clubs. Did a daytime outdoor show in Memphis that was really fun. River Series. Love The Cactus Club in Milwaukee. Across from At Random

7. What city or town did you have your worst gig (and why)?

Maybe Cincinnati, first show of the tour. Low turnout but thought it was a good show.

8. Are you able to support yourself through your music? If so, how long did it take to get there; if not, how do you pay your bills?

At times; make my living through art, too. Between the two I do pretty good. Been self employed from about the early ’80s. So it took to my early 30’s to make a living with art and music.

9. What one profession other than music would you like to attempt; what one profession would you absolutely hate to do?

Stand up comedy maybe, Although I think my wife Laura would be better at it than me.

10. What are the stories you’ve heard about Omaha, Nebraska?

Mutual Of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom with Marlin Perkins. Liked watching that show way back when.

Tobin Sprout plays with Elf Power Friday, July 21, at Reverb Lounge, 6212 Military Ave. Tickets are $13 Adv./$15 DOS. For more information, go to onepercentproductions.com

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There’s a couple big ones going on tonight.

Nineties noise-rock superstars Unsane play at Slowdown Jr. tonight. The band is known as much (or more) for its gruesome album covers as its music. Opening is local sludge rockers Ocean Black and Fashion Week. 8 p.m., $18.

And then there’s the big Blondie / Garbage concert at Stir Cove. As much as I love Blondie, I can’t think of a more miserable time than standing around a huge crowd with a heat index of over 100 (and you’re talking to a guy who loves the heat). Show starts at 7.

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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 © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.