Live Review: Wolf Alice, Slaves (UK); Homer’s announces Record Store Day plans…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , — @ 12:42 pm April 13, 2016
Wolf Alice at The Waiting Room, April 12, 2016.

Wolf Alice at The Waiting Room, April 12, 2016.

by Tim McMahan,

We see bands on their upward trajectory; we see them when they’ve reached their apex and we see them headed downward in a steep dive with the rocks coming up fast from below.

Last night Wolf Alice was a band headed skyward. They were high enough where you could still see the engines clearly without binoculars, before the second-stage rockets kick in and take them above the blue sky, a band on the rise. Maybe they’re the next Garbage or Cranberries or, if they’re lucky, the first Wolf Alice marking their own territory as they go.

The four-piece took The Waiting Room stage at around 10 p.m. and proceeded to rip through most (if not all) of the tracks off their 2015 breakthrough album My Love Is Cool (Dirty Hit/Sony) starting with “Your Loves Whore” with its sensuous, perfect breaks, and ending with a three-song encore kicked off with album opener “Turn to Dust.” In between, the band played 75 minutes of perfect, tuneful indie rock that sounded more than a little influenced by some of my favorite bands from the ’90s, updated with modern grit and a vintage snarl by way of bass player Theo Ellis, who was the life of the party.

In fact it was bleach-blond Ellis that kept things visually interesting on stage. While the rest of the band focused on their respective parts, Ellis played the Brit madman, leading the clapping, pointing out cell phone users, applauding spectators who danced/pogo-ed in the pit. Meanwhile. frontwoman Ellie Rowsell did her thing with reserved panache, eventually getting into it enough to toss her guitar to the stage and walk into the outreached hands of the crowd during the encore.

The band’s secret weapons were guitarist Joff Oddie, who forced your attention with quickfire fretboard gymnastics, and drummer Joel Amey, whose siren voice was the perfect harmony throughout and the perfect lead for dreamy setpiece ‘Swallowtail.”

If there’s a nit to be picked it’s that Wolf Alice could use a bit more stage theatrics, though it’s hard not to get sucked into their set once they get on a roll, which they did last night in front of a packed-though-not-sold-out crowd populated by a surprisingly older audience (I wasn’t the oldest one there, for a change).

The next time you see them live likely will be at a festival somewhere, or in a much larger venue. Wolf Alice is still headed skyward. To what heights they’ll climb, well, we’ll just have to wait and see.

Slaves (UK) at The Waiting Room, April 12, 2016.

Slaves (UK) at The Waiting Room, April 12, 2016.

Opener Slaves (UK, I assume a necessity due to the fact that there’s a U.S. version of Slaves) kicked off the night with a very British sounding set of rough-hewn rock, like listening to a rage-filled Mike Skinner (The Streets) voxed against power chord riffs instead of hip-hop beats. Slaves is a duo featuring drummer/vocalist Isaac Holman yelling more than singing while guitarist Laurie Vincent wailed away on his ax. Sort of punk, but not quite.

Between songs Holman told stories and painted pictures of life in the UK, describing the dreadful riders on public transport who look upset about their dreary careers. “If you don’t like your job, mate, do something else,” he sneered before the duo ripped into “Cheer Up London.” By set’s end, Holman asked everyone to hug the person standing next to them, and then berated those who were too cool to follow his orders.

Sidenote: I appreciate the fact that One Percent Productions is limiting some of its shows to just two bands, especially during the week. Those of us who have regular day jobs enjoy getting home by midnight (11:30 last night), allowing us to function coherently the following morning.

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Screen Shot 2016-04-13 at 12.37.27 PMRecord Store Day 2016 is this Saturday and the shops are getting ready for the annual onslaught. Yesterday Homer’s outlined their plans, which will include lots of exclusives. According to their press release:

“Among the limited edition music releases being unveiled for Record Store Day 2016 are titles by David Bowie, Deftones, Alt-J, Cheap Trick, The Doors, Johnny Cash, Joan Jett, The Talking Heads and Twenty-One Pilots.
“Nebraska native and current Omaha resident Matthew Sweet will be releasing Goodfriend, featuring alternate takes of his iconic 1991 album Girlfriend. Omaha native Adam DeVine will also release his comedy rap album by the Wizards, which features DeVine and the other two members of the Workaholics’ TV show cast.”

BTW, Metallica is 2016’s Record Store Day Ambassador, which seems odd when you consider only a few years ago the only bands still supporting vinyl were indies and not major-label monsters. Looks like the monsters won again.

While Homer’s doors open at 10 a.m., the line generally forms at around dawn. Homer’s will be serving coffee and donuts to line-sitters starting at 8 a.m. Psychobilly rock trio The Rev. Horton Heat will be on hand at 4 p.m. for a meet-and-greet and autograph-signing session to celebrate the band’s RSD single, “Hardscrabble Woman.”

It’s probably a good idea to go to to see what may be available at Homer’s as well as the other RSD participants including Almost Music and Drastic Plastic.

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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 © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Ten Questions with Wolf Alice; Live review: Foxtails Brigade, Ryley Walker; Bent Shapes tonight…

Category: Blog,Interviews,Reviews — Tags: , , , , , — @ 12:50 pm April 11, 2016
Wolf Alice plays Tuesday, April 12, at The Waiting Room.

Wolf Alice plays Tuesday, April 12, at The Waiting Room.

by Tim McMahan,

There’s a good reason why UK band Wolf Alice so quickly exploded on the global music scene. Though they officially formed as a duo between frontwoman Ellie Rowsell and guitarist Joff Oddie in 2010, the band in its current form has only been around for a few years, releasing their debut full length, My Love Is Cool (Dirty Hit Records/Sony) last year.

That album not only was critically lauded (nominated for a Mercury Music Prize) but the band also netted a Grammy nomination. Their sleek, blaring rock has been compared to everyone from Hole to Elastica to The xx. They remind me of early Garbage crossed with one of those dreamy 4AD bands, with brazen,  grungy hooks balanced by Rowsell’s beautiful, breathy coo.  It won’t take them long to jump from rock-club sized venues like The Waiting Room (where they play Tuesday night) to arenas and headliner status on the festival circuit. Catch then now when you can still get close enough to touch them.

The band took the Ten Questions challenge. Here’s how guitarist/vocalist Joff Oddie responded (to most of the questions, anyway).

1. What is your favorite album?

Wolf Alice’s Joff Oddie: The velvet underground and Nico – the velvet underground

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

Seeing people be brought together through our music is a really special thing. There are kids we know all over the world who are now friends and go to shows together through listening to Wolf Alice. That’s a special feeling when you see that.

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

Not being able to cook for myself whilst on long trips on the road. I really miss the kitchen. Sunday’s roasts..

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

Champagne. If you are coming to a show of ours then please bring champagne.

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

Wherever there’s a good crowd we’ll have a good show. We love the states. Been making trips here for about 18 months now and we always love it. You guys know how to treat a band!

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

We had a nightmare show in London once at a small venue called The Lexington. It’s a great venue but all our shit just broke and we were standing on stage for about 20 minutes telling jokes while people tried to fix our shit. That was horrible.

8. How do you pay your bills?

With money…. ??

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

I trained to be a teacher before Wolf Alice so I’d like to do that. Or maybe a butcher.

I don’t think I’d last long in the military.

Wolf Alice plays with Slaves (UK), Tuesday, April 12, at The Waiting Room, 6212 Maple Street.. Showtime is 9 p.m. Tickets are $15 Adv./$17 DOS. For more information, visit

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I would suggest if you’re planning to see Wolf Alice tomorrow night, it might be a good idea to get your tickets now. Yeah, I know advance tickets cost about a dollar more than DOS (which is upside-down, but you know how ticket fees work), cuz I’ve got a feeling this could sell out like Saturday night’s Kurt Vile show. Just sayin’…

Speaking of the weekend.

Foxtails Brigade at The Sydney, April 9, 2016.

Foxtails Brigade at The Sydney, April 9, 2016.

Saturday night I was down the street from that Vile show watching Foxtails Brigade at The Sydney. The four-piece, anchored by Laura Weinbach on vocals, played two styles of rock. I preferred the more  straight-forward style that was reminiscent of early Suzanne Vega, thanks to the folk-rock fueled melodies and Weinbach’s flute-like vocals, which I would have loved to hear more of.

Countering this were prog-rock style songs with bracing time changes and melody shifts that sounded like improv jazz fused with jangle-pop. There were moments that had a sort of renaissance fare quality circa ’70s Jethro Tull. I was waiting for Anton Patzner to pick up the violin I saw him tuning prior to the set, but we didn’t stick around long enough to hear it.

Sunday afternoon I swung by Almost Music’s new location in the Blackstone District for the Ryley Walker in-store and noticed that they painted the building yet again. The striking yellow had been painted black, except for one charming yellow heart. I’m sure there’s a story behind the change.

The new Almost Music — and new Solid Jackson Books, which shares the building — is impressive, roomy and well organized, with gorgeous old-style floor tile, high ceilings and even more product than the old Benson store. The bookstore also is a big improvement over the old location, with high book cases and even more volumes to look through.

Ryley Walker at Almost Music, April 10, 2016.

Ryley Walker at Almost Music, April 10, 2016.

I got there too late to see opener Ian O’Neil from Deer Tick, but just in time to catch Walker, who was set up with a small PA in the bookstore-side of the building. His gorgeous, intricate guitar style perfectly suited his beautiful modern-day folk songs that left the crowd of 20 or so lost in the performance.

Almost Music last week announced the line-up of its annual Record Store Day music festival, which takes place all day next Saturday. Here it is:

12:00 – Nathaniel Hoier
1:00 – John Klemmensen and the Party
2:00 – Brad Hoshaw Music
3:00 – Bien Fang
4:00 – Hand Painted Police Car
5:00 – See Through Dresses
6:00 – Sucettes
7:00 – The Shrinks
8:00 – Ramon Speed

I suspect we’ll be hearing tons more about RSD in the coming days…

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Seems like Milk Run has a show every night. I don’t know how Chris Aponick and Sam Parker do it. Tonight it’s Slumberland Records artist Bent Shapes. Their new album, Wolves of Want, netted a 6.8 on the ol’ Pitchfork meter in a review that called their music “inherently likeable.” Like all Milk Run shows there are three more performers on tonight’s bill: Atlanta’s Hello Ocho, Bed Rest and Little Ripple. $7, 9 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 © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.