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Show Reviews

The Lepers / The Guapo Tones - The Zoo Bar - 12/14/04

The Lepers, former Lincolnites now based in Omaha, kicked off tonight's show, and a bit late, as there was confusion about who was playing when. It was great to see them again. Tonight's show must have been the perfect blend of their more low-key dronier stuff and their heavier stuff, because by the time they were done, I really wanted to hear more of both. Owen has always been great at playing the role of both guitarist and bassist in The Lepers, and last night he was doing some really nice low-end stuff that stood out. They did some newer stuff and some much older stuff too, including what Owen said was their first song ever. It was really good, and a bit different from their current work. Apparently, Owen wasn't happy with the result, saying he was giving up on that song because it's too hard to play. Drummer, Ken Brock, was incredible, as always!

The Guapo Tones were next, and this was my first time seeing them. I'd seen Action Squad a few times, and The Guapo Tones are a natural extension of that. I really like what these guys are going for, and they come very close to getting it, but so far, in both Action Squad or this band, I've never seen them really nail it. They're working in the Iggy & The Stooges and N.Y. Dolls neighborhood, but the band is neither tight enough, nor loose enough to pull it off yet, if that makes any sense. The bass, drums, and rhythm guitar aren't together enough to be really tight, or to be able to get a good groove going. I imagine that it's probably just a matter of time before they gel enough to pull it off.

I don't have any problems with bands who totally work the crowd during a show, or bands who don't talk to the audience much at all during a set, but if you're going to do it, don't do it half-way.The singer does this weird thing where when he's screaming to the audience between songs, he frequently does it with his back to them. I do like his stage banter, though, as it goes well with the style of music the band is doing.

The band's sound is really good, if and when they get it together, they will kick ass! The lead guitarist is really good, and has a really nice 60's Harmony hollow body that sounds perfect for the music they're doing, I look forward to checking these guys out in the future. - Tery Daly



Good With Guns / Tie These Hands / Gloves Ė Knickerbockerís Ė 12/11/04

Itís rare for a band playing their first show ever to kick serious ass, which made Gloves an extremely impressive act. The local music "supergroup" includes Darren Keen from The Show is the Rainbow on guitar and most vocals, Jim Schroeder from Mr. 1986 on guitar and some vocals, and Nate Bicak from Rent Money Big on drums. Darren told me the band doesnít make any sense. I agree with him because itís nearly impossible to describe what they do.

They started the set with the "Gloves Anthem," which was quickly renamed "Bright Calm Blue Anthem." I donít know if Darren was serious about changing their band name so suddenly. The song started slow and dissonant, but then all hell broke loose and the mathematic thrashing of Gloves was unleashed in the public domain. I already knew Jim was capable of such precise guitar slicing and dicing, but I was surprised to see the extent of Darrenís guitar virtuoso. It was interesting to see Jim play guitar in a new context after becoming accustomed to seeing him operate his guitar with more grace. Gloves was like Mr. 1986 in fast forward with manic vocals.

Their second song was about how the film "Swordfish," starring John Travolta and Halle Berry, is actually good. "The Queer King" was about how Julius Caesar was gay. At some point during the set, Darren swung his guitar around his body for a full 360. He fell down after catching it, which may have been when Jim fell over him and that didnít make sense.

The music had a fresh feeling while simultaneously triggering my concepts of how to rock. They reminded me of Ed Gein, a three-piece band from Syracuse, N.Y. bearing the name of a serial killer and sounding like one serial killing with electronic tools.

Itís awesome to see local musicians creating new and exciting projects, especially when the project actually does a tour, giving the folks outside Lincoln a bizarre experience to remember. . Another bonus was their choice to play from a rug on the floor, which I wish more bands would do.

Tie These Hands showcased mostly new material, with the exception of "Crusading to Regress," which appears on their most recent full-length as well as the "NE vs. NC" Redemption Records compilation. Itís always fascinating to watch the Stauffer twins trade-off vocals and lead guitar. Their live shows are great because itís hard to picture which of the two is doing what on the recordings. Their set finished at the apex, where it seemed they could barely channel everything inside through their guitars.

Good With Guns was very good as well. They take liberties in expanding the traditional notion of punk music, such as experimenting with tempo changes and using slide guitar. Upon finishing the last song, the bassist took a dive over, and kind of through, the drum kit. - Joe Younglove



Sad Old Lady / The Killigans / The Vagruntz - Knickerbockers - 11/30/04

A wild and eclectic set from Sad Old Lady tonight. If any any particular point you were to walk into the room and look at the stage, you might suspect Ben Clark was being electrocuted or having a seizure. Ben stalks, slithers, & stomps around the stage, rolls down the stage stairs and accross the floor, humps the monitors, and screams...a lot! Not only is their show unpredicable, so is their keyboard driven music. There's an overall feeling of Joy Division/New Order, but there's a lot more to it than that. Right now, Sad Old Lady is a two-piece band with Ben and keyboard player, Brent Meier, who also handles the programming and playing of the pre-recorded tracks. Ben's jumping around on stage tonight was causing the CD player to skip a bit. Ben is working to flesh out the band a bit, and tonight they were joined by vocalist Tricia Kitsch, of Papers fame, and the song she sang on, their closer, was incredible. I can't wait to see them re-launch with the full band, which happens later this month.

Saint's preserve us and Holy Mother of Jaysus! If you like The Pogues, Flogging Molly, or The Strapping Fieldhands, then you'd love The Killigans. This 7-piece band, sporting two guitars, bass, drums, fiddle, accordian/concertina, and mandolin play revved up, punked up songs in a traditional Irish folk/rock syle. I once referred to The Red Elvises as the Russian Mezcal Brothers. If that's the case, then these guys could be called the Irish Mezcal Brothers because of their high energy, entertaining set. The only thing that could have made this set even better would be been more drunkeness, (either from the band or from me) and if the lead singer were missing a few teeth. His smile is just too pretty to go with the music. They'll be playing the early show Sun 12/5 at The UNL Culture Center, and Dec 18th @ Knickerbockers. Go see them, and bring your jigging shoes!

The Vagruntz closed the show out, and they didn't hold my interest at all. I'm not sure I could give any sort of nutshell description of their sound or style, which perhaps weighs in their favor. They're all good musicians and the band was really tight, but their songs didn't do a thing for me. I spent most of the time in the bar talking, and occasionally I'd hear something interesting and go back in to watch the band, but those moments were few and far between. I'll defintely check them out again if they're playing a show with another band I go to see, but I'm not sure I'd go out of my way just to see them. - Tery Daly



Many shows - Many Dates - Many Venues

I've seen a few bands lately, and I wanted to give Lincoln the "what for", even though it has little to do with local stuff. I promise to compensate with more local reviews in the future, my brethren and sisterethen.

The Makers: They struck me as... pretty? They were primmed and groomed. Michael looked like a Target Lenny Kravitz. Donny had a little necklace on around his neck that looked like two little black berries dangling. His hair was looking very "fluffy," one might say. Soundwise, the Makers were alright, and that's about all. Outside, one of the people hanging out after the show said, "I wonder if they know it's over." It being their tough as nails, zero bullshit/hair product significance.

The Zyklon Bees and The Terminals, on the other hand, were transcendent. Everybody loved them, a ton.

Then... I traveled to Des Moines to see THE DIRTBOMBS! I really wish this band would have played Lincoln or Omaha. I can't figure out why they didn't. Maybe they know how toxic the two environments can be to a real-deal, soulful, deep as the well to red hell rock and roll band. I wanted to see Mick Collins. I saw him. It's true. He's a Black Man. And it matters. His voice sounds just as manly and deep live as on the albums. But I think he once said something like, "If you can't do it live, don't do it in the studio."

I was slightly demystified seeing him duct-tape his own pedals and cords to the stage floor. No roadies. While he was working, my friends, who knew I was slightly schnockered said, "huh huh huh, dare ya' to go ask him about Jack White." I did. Nothing mentionable happened. At the end of the set, one of the drummers, a big strong buck, got on the mic and played Iggy. He started kicking drinks at the crowd, so I threw ice chips at him and my friend splashed beer on him. The linebacker-sized drummer tackled my friend and pinned him to the ground, bending his glasses out of shape. He got a copy of Horndog Fest for free out of the whole ordeal. Fantastic. Everything.

The Cramps: I saw the Cramps at First Ave in Minneapolis. The openers were The Gore Gore Girls and The Soviettes. Gore Gore Girls were forgettable. They had this sixties go-go girl (go figure) aesthetic. They didn't sound one bit like it, though. The Soviettes were fast punk. Hooking. One of them told me that 1st Ave might be on its last legs. As it turned out, she was right. But all that doesn't matter.

The Cramps were next. They opened with "Mad Daddy." I was particularly happy to hear "Lonesome Town", "Caveman", and "Primitive." What can I say about the Cramps? Nothing revelatory or new. Perhaps this will smack of some approximation of the truth: "You all came here tonight, because you, as the cool people of the community, knew it would look bad if you didn't." That was Lux. And in my book, he's right. When I think of "cool" no other band stands out as a definer of the word as much as The Cramps. Who do I put on my stereo when I want my fellow dorm dwellers to know that I'm metric tons cooler than them? The Cramps. I hate to talk about it like that, but it's true. The Cramps do make you superior. The best was when he took a little punk girl's hand in his and moved his head down to kiss it, but he kissed his own hand instead. Bill Bateman of The Blasters was the current drummer. No high-hat. TOM TOM TOM. The best drum. The one I think of when I think "war." All thick, no tin. Give me a Cramps drummer. Deliberate, non-deviating, trustworthy. History of the big beat.

Ivy sneered at me in her pulcritud.

Then I went to Lawrence to see The Hot Snakes. Saw a lot of Omaha and Lincoln there, too. The crowd seemed to know all the words. Here's a band for the kids. Kids need to get into this band. They've got that undefined element: the potential to save the underground for a lot of people who may think that the underground has become toxic and or brainiac. It's all there in "LAX." What I want to say is not easy to express. I mean to say that The Hot Snakes are one of those "indie" bands. But whatever negative stigma people have learned to attach to that lable, "indie", it's all washed away with these guys, because the Hot Snakes got muscle, they got hooks, and they're deceptively pedestrian. They aren't going poetificate us to death, just loud fucking guitar muscle and white shouts. Give me speed. Give me muscle. In audio format.

And one last thing... why does Lawrence, with less than half the population of Lincoln, have a music scene that is three times as hopping? Beats the hell out me. Seriously. - Juan Venganza



Evil Beaver / Suzy Dreamer & Her Nightmares - 10/31/04 - Duffyís Tavern

I went to the Halloween show at Duffyís, featuring Lincolnís own Suzy Dreamer & Her Nightmares, and the female Chicago duo, Evil Beaver. It was a CD-R release show for the Nightmares because of a Photoshop slip-up. Suzy explained that she was unaware of the programís "three-quarter-inch bleed" requirement, which I believe has something to do with the ink on the liner notes. However, a generous offer surfaced. Those who purchased a CD-R were promised hand-delivery of the real CD to their house. I wondered if that meant the whole band would show up on your doorstep, or if you could choose your favorite one to make a solo delivery. I suspect solo, or perhaps dual delivery, to avoid the logistical nightmare. For the show, Suzy wore a tight leather one-piece skirt shirt and her nightmares wore white shirts and black ties. The lyrics were perfect for Halloween, featuring repeated references to dead, often bloated people. The drummer tore it up.

Evie Evil took the stage wrapped in yellow "caution do not cross" tape. In another disclaimer of sorts, she mentioned that she had six shots of whiskey. She removed the cautionary costume and dug deep into some no-nonsense rawk. The bass reverberated through our skulls. Evil Beaverís sound seemed to get louder and more punishing song after song. Evie signaled the end of the set by colliding with Laura Ann Beaverís drum kit, exhaustively pushing the equipment into disarray. Talk about churning your soul through a performance. Ok, I will. Every so often youíll witness people perform as if itís their last show ever. They make their conviction in every note obvious.

Itís hard to remember each costume when youíre looking through a space helmetís severely limited view, but I did see someone dressed up like Peewee Herman, sporting a slightly unnerving latex cap. Peewee never goes out of style, no matter how many porno mishaps he suffers. "Peeweeís Big Adventure" is a cinematic masterpiece, and 80 percent of "Big Top Peewee" was very good. Iíll never forget Teen Wolfís wispy arm fur grazing my skin. The winner of the nightís costume contest, Teen Wolf will go down in history as the best basketball-playing mammal. - Joe Younglove



The Prids / Statistics / The Golden Age Ė 9/26/04 Ė P.O. Pears

In terms of the acts, the order, and the outdoor sand volleyball court setting, this show was a finely crafted and unusual Lincoln experience. Oddly, the nightís only Lincoln-based band, The Golden Age, do not play around here as much as both Statistics, from Omaha, and The Prids, from Portland, Oregon, do. However, in the time they are not playing local shows, The Golden Age wrote some great music that spreads out the brisk harmonies found on their EP, "Calla Lily." I found the group most engaging during what felt like an open-ended tune, where the vocals ceased and the sound created an inviting atmosphere. Often, songs stay on the stage, which is fine, but the awareness of where you are can be bothersome. Thatís part of what made the outdoor setting invaluable and/or valuable. Sensing the breeze and clean air in Sept. 26ís comfortable climate canceled out the potential gloom of feeling outside the music.

All three bands appeared to be in good health and spirits. Denver Dalley, the leader of Statistics, seemed to have much more control over the direction and tone of his songs compared to a performance at OíLeaverís in May. Dalley took the initiative to coax the audience to stand up, come near the stage, and move to the music, which was certainly worth moving for, especially the cover of When in Romeís "The Promise." The tune experienced a rejuvenation of sorts after showing up in "Napoleon Dynamite," a motion picture that sparkles in a class of its own and offers a fantastic retreat from standard Hollywood fare. Going off the presence of sand, Dalley mentioned his affection for a sequence in "The Karate Kid," where "Daniel Son" is playing soccer in the summer.

Statistics do very well with charged-up riffage and capturing a Failure-like aesthetic. Failure was a mid-90s space-rock band led by Ken Andrews, who now fronts Year of the Rabbit. I was thankful Dalley decided to extend the set and play "2 AM," a quiet song that demonstrates just as much power as the groupís amped-up songs.

The order of acts coordinated well with the weather, most notably in the arrival of cool air as The Prids revved up. The Prids have a gift for creating sonic momentum. The songs start and you canít help but jump on. The Prids deserve a pile of thanks for keeping Lincoln a top priority in their performing agenda. Mistina Keith, Prids vocalist/bassist, addressed the audience as "sandpeople," which made me wish those creepy characters from Toolís "Stinkfist" video were in attendance, but not if they moved their fingers around beneath their eyelids.

An unsettling aspect of the night was the enormous stage backdrop of two Corona bottles. It made the show appear like a stop on the "2004 Corona Rocks Tour," if that was actually a tour. Since Corona isnít exactly a spectacular beer, it hovered over the musicians like a big, dumb security guard, blocking the integrity of an artistic atmosphere. However, artistic merit prevailed based on the abundance of talent, character, and variety. Thank you to P.O. Pears for facilitating this remarkable show, supplying excellent sound, and most importantly, for the fine, syringe-free sand. - Joe Younglove



The Envy Corps / Marianas / Ad Astra per Aspera - 9/25/04 - Dugganís Pub

Ad Astra per Aspera, hailing from Jupiterís third moon, Almathea, was the first shift of technicians to perform, turning the Dugganís stage into a regular sound lab.

I saw two guitarists, a male that played lead and scream-sang; and a female stationed at the rear of the stage in her own dimension. She would sit down, stand up and sit down again, all the while entertaining herself with electric guitars, finger cymbals, and a shiny cylindrical metal shaker instrument.

The male guitarist was no slouch at exploring sound, running his whammy bar and the cylinder shaker along his fretboard, for example. The guitar duo was also partial to strumming the string area between the fretboard and the tuning knobs, making that high-pitched, sabre-sharpening sound.

The bassist had a bothersome cough, but played well and kept up nicely. The drummer was very thin. The keyboardist, also a female, added an angelic vocal touch to the lead guitaristís scream from the deep.

There were moments of sheer release when hints of energy bursts presented themselves. The aggressive movements were highly effective due to insightful context production. About 70 percent of the set hovered between minimalism and the earís threshold of tolerable volume. I donít believe the ear was designed to feel healthy around moments of that "metal-type" music.

Ad Astra per Aspera were very good at exploring the possibilities of sound and how it can transport minds.

Marianas played the best set Iíve seen them play in a handful of times Iíve seen them play. The seated singer/guitarist played a wicked theremin solo.

Reducing stage banter to a couple of thank yous, the group managed to take listeners on a proverbial swim, letting the water swish and dictate soundwave fluidity. Their tune, "My Body is a Sail" accentuates the aquatic nature, even though the lyrical setting is a desert.

Thereís something quite red about Marianas. Itís worth mentioning that the Marianas Trench is the deepest spot in the ocean, and thereís a bunch of volcanoes erupting all over the place down in there. That may reveal some of the redness.

Marianas began their set unusually, using the sound of a steady rain. It was a clever way to invite the audience into the sound. When itís raining for real, one forgets about a lot of things. People tend to look around and watch others react to the rain, or watch splashing and the clouds changing colors. Like a rainstorm, Marianas features subtle elements, such as picking a guitar string with the volume down, then making the ringing tone audible. Too many rock stars make the guitar look like a one-trick pony. Itís nice to experience a show where each band on the bill uses imagination.

Like Ad Astra, Marianas are interested in the emotional effect of volume. They seem to be getting louder more often, while still maintaining a pervading sense of serenity.

The Envy Corps must be some of the finest music Ames, Iowa has to offer. The singer/guitarist/keyboardist, Luke Pettipoole, has a gift for wrapping his voice around charming melodies and threading it through creative tempos. The group delivers bombastic crescendos and chilling sparseness.

The Envy Corps released their debut album, Soviet Reunion, this year. In terms of artwork and sound, itís an elegant record; at an affordable price. They should be charter members of that club of Midwestern bands so comprehensively influenced and truly blessed with conviction in a sound of their own. - Joe Younglove



Gnome Slaughterhouse / Fromanhole / The Bombardment Society - Knickerbockers - 8/24/04 (first show of Lincoln Calling)

Even though I rushed across town after work and back downtown as fast as possible, I still missed Gnome Slaughterhouse, but so did every one else. I arrived at 6:45 and the place was empty. I'd assumed that an early show on Friday featuring 3 Omaha bands would be sparsely attended, but since Gnome Slaughterhouse and The Bombardment Society had gone for chow after the GS set, it was me and maybe 4 other people.

Next up was Fromanhole, who got a late start due to their equipment vehicle somehow getting lost between Omaha and Knickerbockers. I'd never heard them before so I had no idea what to expect. I guess they were extremely "mathy" and they did that kind-of-cliche math-rock thing where their singer shouts out some hard core vocals in between their intricate jams. They were a mostly instrumental band anyway, and the vocals kind of seemed like an afterthought. I might have enjoyed them more except their bass player broke a string on the first song and took WAY TO LONG to change the string and then to get his broken tuner to work. Note to band: you don't need a tuner, especially when everyone's waiting on you and you have to play a short set anyway.

After Fromanhole finished, GSlaughterhouse and Bombardment Society showed up with a small posse, and the place was as full as it was going to get. At this point there were maybe 18 people (bands included). But the lucky people in attendence witnessed what would turn out to be the highlight of all the Lincoln Calling shows I attended. The Bombardment Society, who I've seen before and was already a fan of, must have been eating some ROCK WHEATIES or something: they DESTROYED! Best show I've seen in quite a while. I'd noticed on their most recent 7" (a split w/ GSlaughterhouse) that their sound seemed to be changing and I liked it. As someone said later in the night, they've gone less Mission of Burma and more Wipers. And like all really good shows, the audience was getting into it: the hyper-active 17 year olds in GSlaughterhouse and their friends were doing some crazy-ass Berzerker dances up front, one of them later got up on stage to sing some backups and for the last song, 3 dudes stormed the stage for some dancing. All in all pretty entertaining. The Bombardment Society is currently working on a full length, and I for one am looking forward to it. Hopefully, they'll be back in Lincoln soon.

ps - go to thebombardmentsociety.com and download "Wigs for Downtown" - Dan Jenkins



Jillian Thiel / Amy Hana Huffman / Joe Buck - Duffy's Tavern - 8/29/04

Tonight we got a whole slew of solo performances from some great Lincoln artists. Jillian Thiel started the show, and despite being nervous due to this being her first solo performance, and a minor technical difficulty with her guitar strap, she put on a great performance. Most of the songs she did tonight are ones we've heard her play with her band, The Thielgoods, and she debuted a few new ones. Throughout the performance I was thinking to myself that I was enjoying the songs better with just Jillian playing them then when the band plays them, there was a bit more intimacy and intensity to the songs being performed this way. I guess one of the points of someone from a band doing a solo performance should be to interpret the songs a little differently. I don't know if that was necessarily Jill's goal, but she achieved it nonetheless. I was talking with someone else at the show, and they also commented that they enjoyed the songs better solo. They're great when the band does them, but they had a little something extra tonight.

Amy Huffman played next, and as I said when I reviewed her last show, she doesn't play live NEARLY enough. Her songs are great, and she's got one of the best voices in Lincoln. The lyrics completely draw you into the songs, and even if you can't understand the lyrics, as I occasionaly couldn't, the melody draws you in as well. I wish Amy would hand out lyric sheets so I could follow along, because I liked all the lyrics I could hear.

Joe Buck closed out the night, and played a really nice set. A few new ones, a lot of great old ones, and Joe even played some requests for some oldies that haven't seen the light of day for a while, and even though they might have been a bit rusty in some cases, it was still nice to get them at all! Tonight's show was recorded and will hopefully be released as part of the Lone Prairie Records bootleg series. If it is, I strongly recommend picking up a copy! - Tery Daly



Shelter Belt / Hymn From The Hurricane / Neva Dinova - 8/28/04 - 9th St. Basement

Switching instruments and people around does a lot for good entertainment. The 9th Street Basement stage was a circus; a sometimes drunk and always rhythmically-inclined cast of performers.

Shelter Belt is undeniably fun. The vocalist wears a tam oíshanter hat, and he and Prince are cut from the same cloth.

The songs are exuberant, colorful, and call for dancing 85 percent of the time. During one song, a member alternated accordion and trombone duties. The drummer played banjo, and wowed the crowd with a special dance during the last song. Standing at the middle of the stage, facing north, he lifted a pitcher of beer to his mouth and swallowed the ale with graceful dexterity.

Shelter Belt covered the Prince-penned, "When You Were Mine," from 1980ís Dirty Mind, proving the timelessness of the artist formerly known as the artist formerly known as Princeís work. The song was in line with other Shelter Belt songs, featuring a bright horn section and soul.

I recommend purchasing Rain Home, Shelter Beltís debut album, because it has stunning artwork, careful production, and the music runs across the board. However, they are easily more impressive in a live setting. "The Beeps" is reminiscent of "Susanís House" by Eels, because of the internal monologue talking parts. Overall, the album is a celebration of sound, breaking free from traditions associated with setting band member roles in stone.

Hymn from the Hurricane dampened the mood, and then lifted it again with a song about marigolds. Their cover of The Righteous Brothersí "Unchained Melody" barely hints at the original, which is a good thing in that covers should not be exact replicas. However, like many of the groupís songs, a thick sea of sound swallows melodic definition.

There is a certain desire to experience Hymn from the Hurricaneís music because of the multi-instrumentation and their obvious love for capturing mood with sound. It would be awesome if they added some bone-crushing distortion and a scream/sing approach. Taking a cue from Labradford might be fun, going for minimalist paranoia-rock.

Neva Dinova was all at once beautiful, hysterical and proudly imperfect. They shine the most with slow heart-aching songs, hijacked with stop-start solos and/or distortion.

Their set started with two guitars and drums, but somewhere along the way the second guitarist vanished. Carrying an Old Style and a cigarette, Conor Oberst added his touch to one song. Two members of Hymn from the Hurricane joined another tune. Neva Dinovaís singer/guitarist, Jake Bellows, lived in the moment, letting the atmosphere dictate the set. - Joe Younglove



13 County / The Terminals / The Bad Sects - 8/21/04 - Duggans Pub

Tonight's show was competing against the Big Red Welcome, where Head of Femur was playing, so this show was pretty sparsely attended, but the audience who did come were a very appreciative audience.

13 County was already playing by the time I arrived at Duggan's, but I'd probably only missed a song or two. I've seen 13 County many times, but this was one of the best shows I've seen by them. Tonight they sounded like they were channeling the spirit of The Replacements, and in my book, that's a very good thing.

The Terminals set kicked ass. This was probably the best sound I've heard for this band. Every one of John's guitar solos were clearly audible, and Liz's vocals were more audible than usual, but still not enough to make out the lyrics, perhaps that's intentional. I always like to see when bands have members who play a lot of different instruments and switch throughout the set, and these guys do that a lot. They did one song that I hadn't seen before where Dave switched to guitar, and it's more surf influenced than any of their other stuff, harkening back to his Carcinogents days, and it was a great song.

The Bad Sects closed out the show, and holy shit! Jim Reilly looked like he was wrestling with demons who had taken posession of his guitar. The exorsism began on their first song and lasted through the end of their set, where in the end, it appeared as if Jim had been successful. I've never seen such intensity from Jim before, and I only wish that more people had been there to see it. His guitar playing was on fire! It might have been their best show ever, certainly one of the top 3. They broke out several new songs, I think the names were "Oh No", Wasting Away, and I don't know what the last one was called. I liked all the new ones a lot, and they clearly show the band developing in their writing. I should be getting an advance copy of the bands as-yet unreleased CD, so you may be hearing some of their stuff on SCS Radio pretty soon. - Tery Daly



Goat - 8/15/04 - Duffy's Tavern

Gregg Cosgrove brought his new band, Goat, to Duffy's on Sunday night, and based on his history in Lincoln, I think expectations ran pretty high. Unfortunately not only did Goat not live up to high expectations, they would have to improve a lot just to suck.

Gregg's brother drummed and sang on many of the songs, and sadly, his singing left a LOT to be desired, and his drumming was even worse. I have no idea how long he's been drumming, but if it's more than 3 months I'd be surprised. The other guitar player in the band (they had no bass...and they would have benefitted from having one) seemed as if he'd perhaps only learned the songs earlier that day, and had forgotten half of them. The songs themselves were fine, and had they been played by a good band, would be really enjoyable. When Gregg did the lead vocals, things sounded better, but the music performance was still sub-par. About the middle of the set, a fair amount of people started leaving.

Toward the end of their set, they started throwing in covers. "Dirty Work" by Steely Dan, "More Than This" by Roxy Music, a song I've heard covered several times lately, and a few others. That's when I left the room. A friend of mine who wanted to be there but couldn't asked how it was. When I told him that the band I was in in 7th grade was better, I wasn't lying. It's hard to believe that the guy who wouldn't release Murder Ballads, one of the better albums to come out of Lincoln (or more accurately, not come out), would get up in public and play with this band.

Like I said, many of the songs were very good, and I'd like to hear them played by a band with a good drummer, good vocalists, a bass player, and band members who know the songs. I felt bad about how much I didn't like this, but that's only because it was Gregg's band, if it was a band with complete strangers, I probably would have walked out after the 4th song. If shit were money, Goat would be rich! - Tery Daly



The New Music Agency - 7/11/04 - Unitarian Church

The New Music Agency plays weird music. Most of the members are professors, or give lessons in some capacity. I think they have to go to great lengths in order to entertain themselves. This results in immense entertainment value for the aurally curious audience member.

In correlation with the program title, "The Agency Animal Show," the first piece was about mice. Daniel Dorffís "Dance Music (Mr. Mouse Dances and Dies)" for Eb clarinet and piano featured Christy Banks and Lia Jenson. Banks supplied several children in the audience with props before the music started, including a crown, high heels, a sash, and a cowgirl hat with yellow yarn pigtails. At various points during the piece, Banks motioned to her husband, Rusty, to incite the children to dance with a hand puppet mouse. Banksí wild clarinet work led the music. She made the clarinet fun by reaching high octaves, and then doodling around in them. As with most New Music Agency pieces, this one never settled into predictability. The audience has to trust the piece, and remain willing to follow the meandering journey. When the piece ended, I noticed the puppet mouse lying still on the floor under a purple cloth.

Trombonist Scott Anderson prefaced the second piece, "Elegy for Mippy II" by identifying Mippy. He said the composer, Leonard Bernstein, wrote the piece as a remembrance of his dog lying by the fire, rhythmically thumping the ground with its tail. As indicated in Bernsteinís accompaniment instructions, Anderson tapped his foot "four to the bar" during the entire piece. He executed smooth position changes with clear and rich tone. I was disappointed the piece wasnít longer, but any shortcomings were compensated with Donnie Ashworthís "Exploding Carousels" for flute, clarinet, and cello.

"Exploding Carousels" was certainly as much fun as its name implies. The three performers explained some of the pieceís unusual features before playing it. Cellist Diana Frazier demonstrated some chin music. She dragged her chin up the neck to make a deep, guttural sound. Flautist Betsy Bobenhouse previewed some whimsical notes that called for tongue rolling. Starting the piece was like lighting a fuse to detonate fireworks. There were gently radiant sections between stretches of cacophonous precision. It was truly a colorful display of how two woodwinds and one string instrument can fill a room. The Unitarian Church is a great place for sound to run its full course. The concert program included a review of the Alabama School of Fine Arts performance of "Exploding Carousels," which spun what I enjoyed into negative territory, by claiming the piece was, "ÖInspired by unpleasant childhood memories, its ear-splitting dissonances and steady pulsations were more annoying than cathartic." Iím not positive that inspiration can be clearly defined. Dissonance is defined as, "an inharmonious sound or combination of sounds; discord." Theater thrives on dissonance to make a compelling story. I see music as another beneficiary of dissonance; the more "ear-splitting" the better.

Rusty Banks wrote the nightís fourth piece, "Taxonomy" for flute and clarinet. He brought a snake for a visual aid, and proceeded to explain how the piece was inspired by the creatureís behaviors. For example, rattlesnakes were represented with "flute hissing," and a section Banks wrote based on a slap-bass lick represented snakeskin boots. As his wife and Bobenhouse slid through five movements, it was stimulating to imagine animal movement corresponding with the music arrangement. It would have been more enchanting had it not followed "Exploding Carousels."

"Panther Dance from Dutch Suite" for bassoon and euphonium closed the program. Peter Schickele, aka PDQ Bach, who is a notorious jokester in the classical music genre, composed it. The piece put a destructive spin on Henry Manciniís "Pink Panther" melody. The notes would ascend (ba-dump-ba-dum), and then tumble away, as if falling down stairs. Anderson played the euphonium, an instrument I had never seen before. It resembles a baritone, yet itís much shinier. He incited laughter with some notes that sounded like air escaping a balloon. Karen Sandeneís bassoon work continued to be captivating. The program said she, "...Enjoys digging up obscure pieces of music to inflict on Lincoln audiences." That is what makes The New Music Agency such an attractive entity. They are detectives, exposing hidden musical works that provoke curiosity. If someone thinks classical music is a boring relic of the past, he/she would think differently after experiencing Lincolnís New Music Agents. Four of the five composers in the program were actually alive! - Joe Younglove



Her Flyaway Manner / Aneuretical / Mr. 1986 - Knickerbockers - 7/9/04

Despite the homemade "No Dancing" sign on the wall, a sizable crowd filled Knickerbockerís for this all-ages rock show. Luckily, none of the bands played Parliament Funkadelic covers. Before the show began, Jim from Mr. 1986 told the crowd to take off their dancing shoes, sit down, and grab a lattť.

Careful to keep my feet stationary, I submitted to an urge to headbang for most of Mr. 1986ís set. The most startling moment for me happened during a new song, when I could hear voices harmonizing, but was not clear where they came from. Through several Mr. 1986 shows, I had come to understand they played music without vocals, but on this night, the band exercised their voices as instruments to create an eerie calm before a gigantic wall of sound. It has been fascinating to hear their new songs take shape. They treat regular fans to a "making of the songs" experience. Mr. 1986 appears to be focusing more on creating textural movements in songs that call for listening investments. Itís interesting to track the merging of tones, and what volume level results.

Aneuretical is a three-piece from Minneapolis. The guitarist wore a Built to Spill T-shirt. The bassist, who was also the vocalist, drove the songs. A lot of times it feels like bass lines move on a horizontal plane, but this guyís bass lines moved in multiple directions, perhaps because of the hints at rubber band sounds. The guitarist had some good chord progression ideas, but his sound was buried in the drums and bass. The vocals could have used more variation, as they were delivered in a consistent nasal pace. They certainly know how to play their instruments, which guarantees theyíll have a distinct personality in a couple albums.

Like Mr. 1986, Her Flyaway Manner is always worth your time. HFM is an equilateral triangle. They have a chemistry that forces the listener to view them as a collective unit, rather than singular parts collapsing into each other. This show was the first Iíve seen them miss a step, which happened when Brendan started singing something he wasnít supposed to sing yet. It actually served to make a more entertaining show. It was also enamoring to watch Adam2000 play the fretless bass, even though I think itís what he normally plays.

As far as I know, no fan in attendance was apprehended for dancing, although there were rumors that someone did the foxtrot in the womenís restroom. - Joe Younglove



Papers / Baby Teeth - Duffy's Tavern - 6/30/04

It's nice to go to a local club and see a show that's very different from the normal stuff you'd see there. Last night's show at Duffy's definitely qualifies as that.

Chicago band, Baby Teeth, featuring 2 members from Bobby Conn, a Chicago band with some Lincoln ties, took the stage first, and these guys were great. Their music is a mixture of a little R&B, Soul, Rock, with the occasional touches of disco. Their overall sound was very '70's influenced. There were plenty of obvious influences by popular 70's artists, but there was also a real heavy dose of Sparks, and funkier Frank Zappa, which really appealed to me. The trio of Keyboard, bass and drums was made up of excellent musicians, and their 3-part vocals were phenomenal. It's nice to hear bands with really excellent vocals. There was some guy who played at Duffy's a few months back who was doing his white-boy soul, but he was just a Prince wanna-be, and the act wore thin by the 3rd song. Baby Teeth are the real deal. When each song was over, I couldn't wait to hear what they were going to do next. They closed out their set with a couple of covers; Hall & Oates' "Rich Girl", which got people up and dancing, and a cover of John Lennon's "Mind Games", that sounded more like a kind of like a disco re-mix than a cover. Abraham said they'd like to hit Lincoln again on their way back through in a couple of months, so if you're looking for a great band with great songs that will make you shake your ass, you'll want to be there!

Papers played next, and I think, maybe, I've got a handle on this band. Maybe. I've seen them 4 or 5 times now, and I'd only reviewed one previous show, because I found Papers so hard to describe. They're one of the few bands in Lincoln doing something truly original. If I had to try to label it for the sake of convieniently describing it to someone who's not seen them, I might call it "Indie Jazz", but that would really only just scratch the surface.The music of this nine-piece lineup of multi-instrumentalists has SO many diverse elements coming together that make it very hard to peg. In my previous review, I compared them to Neutral Milk Hotel playing 60's AM Radio music, Others have compared them to 70's pop/light rock crossed with The Rocky Horror Picture Show soundtrack, and others have referenced the Jesus Christ Superstar soundtrack as reference points. You hear a bit of Magnetic Fields in them, a bit of the aforementioned NMH, and even a touch of Capt. Beefheart. There's contemorary indie elements, 60's pop, soul and groove elements, and it's all wrapped in this very cool jazz envelope and the jazz element seems to be getting more pronounced in some of the newer songs they're playing. Several of the band members sing on different songs, so their sound/style is constantly changing during their set. Some of the songs that really stand out for me are (and I don't know any of the titles) are "Elijan", the instrumental they usually open with, "Headlong & Hellbent", and "All in All". This set was a nice mix of their upbeat and laidback tunes. They closed out their show with a kick ass version of R.B. Greaves' "Take A Letter, Maria". - Tery Daly



Bears Eat Fish / The Bad Sects / Westside Proletariat / Thunderstandable / Marianas - Duffy's Tavern - 6/13/04 night 3 of Scenefest 2
One of the many valuable proponents of the Starcityscene.com Scenefest 2, is the guarantee that the show will indeed start at the time promised on the flyer. About 99% of the shows I attend start either a)when the band feels like it, and/or b) when enough people show up.

I entered Duffy's at 8:19ish, and Bears Eat Fish (Bear Eats Fish?) were already engaged in their power-chord laden set. While the music was not particularly original, the vocalist ensured a unique band personality, with his dramatic physical poses and bizarre sense of humor. Shortly after one song began, he pulled out his wallet, which somehow turned out to be a cell phone, and had a short chat, i.e."Yeah, there's nobody cool here." The guitarist sported the first of two Night of the Living Dead T-shirts to be worn on stage for the evening.

The Bad Sects were very good. It is nice to watch a band get better and tighter every time they perform. They played some new songs that surprised me with marked improvements in basslines and drumming. To my knowledge, when the guitarist left the stage during their set, it may have been the first time someone performing addressed the homeless guy that hangs out outside the emergency exit. I should also mention that the guitarist has a unique sound, which may partly be due to the relatively small Crate amplifier. But I think it's mostly due to his style, which feels slightly improvisational, and abrasively colorful. Check out The Bad Sects, with Suzy Dreamer & Her Nightmares, Bear Eats Fish, and The Blakes at the 9th Street Basement on June 25.

Westside Proletariat played fast punk rock, with flashes of hardcore. I found the new songs to be interesting, for the jagged guitar riffs that sliced through the sound. One of the guitarists sported the second Night of the Living Dead T-shirt. However, Bears Eat Fish embodied the essence of Night of Living Dead better, for their more minimal/slapdash approach.

Unfortunately, Call In Call Out was apparently unable to make it to the show. If they would have played, I would tell you that they rocked like Snapcase, with more emphasis on the horsepower, than the octane level. Thunderstandable played a couple songs off their first EP, including "Nothing with Little or Small in It," and "Touchin' Tits," but the new songs from the second EP were even better. It often feels like the two guitars are having a conversation. The music is methodical, but it takes many zig-zags. It's like riding a Tilt-A-Whirl carriage in the bumper car arena.

Marianas closed the night with their ambient talents. Contrary to the sound they established on the album Onward + Upward, some of their new stuff is loud and fast. The only detriments to the Marianas set was a consistent low bass feedback sound, and the fact that I was nearly freezing. Duffy's should donate some of their air conditioning to Knickerbocker's. Marianas certainly has a gift for creating beautiful atmospheric music, but they have some creases to smooth out, such as the vocal harmonies between the keyboardist and seated guitarist, and the drums' compatibility with the guitars/keyboards. Also, the laptop samples could be woven in more smoothly. For their multimedia approach and sonic explorations, Marianas is definitely a special local music option. - Joe Younglove

Another Scenefest 2 review:

In the last couple of months, Lincoln has been graced with several cool shows; so many that I havenít been able to attend them all! Scenefest 2 was full of surprises for me and, I suspect, many others and was solid from beginning to end. The shows were loaded with bands I knew would be great to see: Marianas, Bear Eats Fish, Suzy Dreamer, The Terminals, Ideal Cleaners, The Mezcal Brothers, Hymn From the Hurricane, and The Amalgamators, to name many but there was one surprise each night for me. Friday night it was Charlie Burton. I hadnít seen Charlie play since 1989 when he opened for The Replacements at the Peony Park Ballroom and I knew he was good and surrounded himself with good players so I wasnít surprised that he sounded so good. The thing that struck me was how they performed: very matter-of-factly, not crowing about how good they were or cowering from the much younger crowd there to see the newest local heroes, they just let the music do the talking. Saturday night, Prairie Psycho played a very upbeat and energetic set that was influenced the best college rock sounds of the 1980ís with their own spin on it. Sunday brought Bugs Meany to the Duffyís stage for the first time and they charged hard into their "country punk with a Clark Kent look" set Ė they were tight and their sound will only improve. - Eric Wikizer



Floating Opera / Marianas - Duffy's Tavern - 6/3/04

Point

Floating Crapera and Crapianas

Let's get this out in the open. The sound at Duffy's is terrible. Who's to blame? The brick walls that offer no chance for pleasant acoustics? The dudes running sound? Let's just say that it is a travesty that Duffy's is the premiere place to play a rock show in town and the sound sucks a big fattie. I am really wondering how many bands I've seen at Duffy's that I didn't like, but maybe I would like had I seen them at a venue with decent sound.

And I know this is a common belief among musicians who have played at Duffy's, so can we do something about it? How many bands visit and have their songs muffled, mushed, and bled by the poor sound?

As for Floating Crapera, they seem like the nerdy half-cousins of Head of Femur on kind bud. And I know Richard is a mathematician, but his mathematical perfection on keys is definitely to his detriment. His keyboard style is robotic to a fault. Dammit, let's get some incorrect solutions in this band. And when the songs decide to perfunctorily go dissident, it's as predictable as the quadratic equation.

But the main problem with the Floating Crapera is, as Emperor Franz Joseph said in "Amadeus": "Too many notes." I don't mean, as he did, that the music is too active, but that there are simply too many people on the stage. Aside from the fact that there is no low-end (maybe the acoustics were off?) I don't see the need for so many treble-oriented instruments. I couldn't hear any of them, anyway, so I guess it doesn't matter.

We're given an absolutely stale visual experience, and the performers seem to revel in it. Performing on stage is not supposed to be like your junior high recitals, your hands in your pockets when you're not playing your instrument.

And the lyrics about seasons and crystals and oceans and whatever the hell else Jewel might masturbate to, are...what Jewel might masturbate to.

The song "Resignation Day" is quite possibly the worst song I've ever heard performed live. And I've seen Zero Hero.

As for Crapianas, I'm always excited to have an audio/visual experience when attending a rock concert. This time, an 80's skater tape just didn't cut it. The concept of drone-rocking out and possibly having a mindless movie synch up with the music at some point is about as fun as getting stoned and throwing in "The Wizard of Oz" to "Dark Side of the Moon".

I liked the mood that Crapianas set for the first 20 minutes or so. Then my attention span shriveled up like a stack of dimes in the winter. I just can't take this kind of music for more than 20 minutes. It is very compelling for 20 minutes, however. Then I get lost because I'm not stoned. Being drunk doesn't help. I end up feeling like there something else I should be doing, like taking a nap.

But, maybe all of this review would be different if the acoustics were better. - Jack Jackson

Counterpoint

If someone had told me I'd be hearing covers by The Who, Husker Du, and Blue Oyster Cult at tonight's show, I probably wouldn't have believed them, but that was exactly the case. I mean Floating Opera and Marianas are, for lack of a better term, toward the more "low key" end of the spectrum of Lincoln rock bands, so one might not expect covers from bands as "heavy" as those three.

Floating Opera played a good set made up mostly of songs from their latest release, Burning Lighthouse, including "Palookaville Moan", "Believer", "Agnes In Furs", "'Resignation Day", "Shakespeare Machine" and the set closer, "Crushed Velvet", and a notable version of "Merseyside" from the Everybody's Somebody's Monster CD. Their set also included The Who's "I Can't Reach You", during which Scott Stansfield threw in a few seated windmills, and HuskerDu's "Makes No Sense At All"

Marianas played a really nice set. The highlight of which, for me, was their cover of Don't Fear The Reaper, because they stayed completely true to the original, while at the same time, making it totally Marianas, very nicely done. I also thought tonight's version of "The Simple Things" was great. During one song, they threw in a taste of Survivors "Eye Of The Tiger" at one point, which was pretty funny.

OK. Let me start out this part by saying...Jack, You Ignorant Slut. Jack Jackson, you don't like ANY bands. In all the time I've known you I've only heard you say you liked a band you saw two...possibly three times. Ultimately your review isn't really a review of the show at all, it's a review of how good or bad a time you, Jack Jackson, had at the show, and why you, Jack Jackson, had a good or bad time.

I agree completely with your comments about the sound. The sound tonight was bad, and unfortuntely for Floating Opera, it was a lot worse for them than it was for Marianas. The sound problems for Floating Opera are just the opposite of what you, Jack Jackson said, it's not that it's too trebly, it's that they've got so much low end on stage, especially from the the bass, cello, and keyboard. Add in two electric guitars, and the sound gets really boomy and muffled. Anytime there are a bunch of instruments playing in or overlapping approximately the same frequency ranges, they pile up, multiply, and make for really muddy sound. Floating Opera is much closer in configuration to chamber music than a rock band, and yes, Duffy's is not the best venue acoustically to present chamber music. If they want great sound that would do their music justice, they'd need to play at Kimball Hall or The Lied Center. Another thing to bear in mind is that Floating Opera isn't really a band that plays all the time. The reason why is because with 7 people in a band, schedules are almost impossible to line up. For this particular show, the band hadn't gotten much time to rehearse. Also there was the issue of one of the band members being sick. Granted it wasn't the best performance ever by this band, but it was not, by any means, a bad show, and because of those circumstances I'm willing to cut them a little slack, AND taking all that into consideration, it was actually a pretty damn good performance.

As for the visual experience...I don't know...I guess my feeling is it's not fair to review a band based on what you, Jack Jackson, want them to do, or what they didn't do that you, Jack Jackson, wish they did. It's not a requirement for bands to jump around, and with the music of Floating Opera, it would actually seem a bit silly. Floating Opera shows, as with their recordings, are about the songs, and about the music, not the flash. If the music's "not you're cup of tea", that's fine, but if you go into a Floating Opera show expecting a laser show, or bass players breathing fire or spitting blood, you've set yourself up for a disappointing experience, and the fault lies with you, Jack Jackson, not the band.

There was nothing wrong with Marianas performance, it wasn't the best I've seen by them, but it was a fine show. Just because you, Jack Jackson, have the attention span of a gnat doesn't mean the band should have to stop at 20 minutes, I agree their choice of skateboarder video to go with their set seemed an odd match, but whatever, that's what they wanted to show. My recommendation to you, Jack Jackson, is: GO TAKE A NAP! - Tery Daly



Fallout Countdown/Tie These Hands/Rent Money Big/The Narrator/MR. 1986 - Duggan's Pub - 5/30/04

It was a "Tour Kickoff" show for Rent Money Big and MR. 1986, and it delivered a boatload of energy. Fallout Countdown, from Washington, D.C., started the show. I arrived after their set began, for which I do not feel much remorse. They seemed to gravitate towards "dance-punk," which can certainly be lots of fun, but it was not crunchy and/or raw enough. I can get into The Rapture, because they have a way with haphazard sonic assaults. Perhaps Fallout Countdown should be louder, or I should forego the earplugs. They did project an abundance of physical vigor. The guy who mostly played bass turned out to be a manic vocalist. He stumbled several times over two stairs that led to the stage, and made a valiant effort to channel his aggression through a tambourine. They left right after their set to play a show in Omaha.

Tie These Hands delivered another solid set of melodic rock, with touches of interesting on-stage banter, informing us among other things that Dance Dance Revolution (DDR) is sweet. They stuck to material from their split with MR. 1986, Collective Efforts, as well as some great new songs. Someone in the crowd requested "the easy listening" song, which is a new song that involves relatively simple chords for Tie These Hands, but is strummed in a way that makes it aggressively bouncy. And the group's vocals seem to get better every time. They closed with arguably their most aggressive song, "The Argument," and treated us to a double vocal attack for the very end. The next local Tie These Hands show is with A is Jump and Science Ninja Team on June 11 in the 9th Street Basement.

Rent Money Big supplied a supremely rocking set as usual, with rollicking numbers such as "Killer Beez the Size of Cats, "The Idea of a White Jesus," and "Ruckus Fuckus." After lead singer, Tim Scahill talked about how the band hates it when he says dumb things between songs, he began to "let the silence consume him," and pulled it from the air with his hands. During one song, Scahill left the stage and performed a seizure-like voodoo dance thing. Another great moment was when the guitarist bellowed "Fuck you!" at his instrument after a song, which seems much more logical than destroying it.

The Narrator, from Chicago, played some solid two-guitar hardcore, while one of those toy Caddyshack critters danced on an amp. There was a very enthusiastic, pogo-ing fan, which was identified as the group's "mascot." He couldn't help himself from taking over the stage during the last song. He scrambled around like a caged hamster, while occasionally providing vocal assistance. The bassist ended up with two guitars over his shoulders at the end, which is another thing I haven't seen.

I thought MR. 1986's set was best described by Darren Keen, also known as The Show is the Rainbow. He said, "I can't believe I'm seeing these guys in shirts and pants play music at Duggan's Pub in Lincoln, Nebraska. That music should be made by angels and aliens." The band started the show with "Sharp Elbows and Vulnerable Cars," from The Everbimes, which led into "Where Motion is Rest," from Collective Efforts. They played a soul-destroying new song, and closed with "Adjust the Blinds." The only thing left to say is that I can assure many a mind will be blown over the course of the R$B/MR. 1986 mini-tour. - Joe Younglove



Fizzle Like A Flood / Shelterbelt / Papers - 9th St. Basement - 05/07/04

I haven't seen my friend Doug Kabourek play since his band and mine played a few shows together last year. Doug was just doing solo acoustic on Friday, so it was a nice treat getting to hear the songs in a really stripped down version with no harmonies or other accompaniment, and what it proves is that his songs are just great songs that stand up on their own, great lyrics, great music.

Shelterbelt was next, but unfortunately, I didn't get to see too much of their set, but what I did see was good. They were also a nice matchup with Papers due to their horn section.

Papers is the band I came to see tonight, and they exceeded anything I might have expected, and then some. I told Trish, one of the singers, that Papers is everything that I love about 60's and early 70's AM radio, but as if it were played by Neutral Milk Hotel. Their style is very unique, and therefore hard to describe to compare to something you might know. The best way to see what they're like is obviously to just go see them yourself. They'll be playing Scenefest 2 on June 12th, but if they have any other shows between now and then, they'll be on the calendar, watch for them. - Tery Daly



Jabid / The Show Is The Rainbow / The Mathmeticians - Duggan's Pub - 05/06/04

The weekend of rock in Lincoln started a bit early this week. A lot of times I'll go to shows that are great, but not necessarily fun, and shows that are fun without necessarily being great. Last night's show at Duggan's was heavy on both!

Jabid kicked off the night singing along with his one-man Casio & beats songs. Jabid didn't annouce the names of any songs, and the CD I have doesn't have a track listing. He did a cool song about Hepatitus B, and an instrumental where he stood and played percussion by hitting the mic with a beer bottle. I can't tell you which songs were done by name, nor can I really describe it, so I just have to recommend you go see Jabid next time he's playing, it's cool as hell.

The Show Is The Rainbow was next, and Darren was somehow pullling off being more wild then usual, and at the same time being a bit more restrained. That probably doesn't make much sense if you were there to witness it. He decided that since he was going to end up with his shirt off at the end of the set as he always does, he'd just start out that way. He broke a shoelace a bit into the set, so had to do the rest of it shoeless, which hampered his maniacal running around the club a bit. I've got to say, I think the song I like best was his soundcheck song, the one about Japanese boys looking like American girls, but that's because I've never heard it before, and I've heard all the rest of the set many times.

New York's The Mathmeticians were great. They were the perfect mixture of rock and humor. They play uber-geek rock in their Mathmetician personas, Pete Pathagarus (bass & vocals), Dewey Decimal (keyboards, vocoder & vocals) & Albert Gorithm IV (drums, sampler, vocals). They're kind of a cross between Devo and They Might Be Giants. Kick ass, rocking New Wave with songs all revolving around math or computer related themes like Input/Output, Subtract My Life, Child of Satan (yes this WAS a math song involving the numbers 666), The Hypotenuse of Love, (which included vocals sung by a Steven Hawking style computer voice), and the incredibly catchy Binary Girl. I do want to qualify the comparison to TMBG. While TMBG had great songs, they almost always tipped the scale in favor of the "schtick", whereas with The Mathematicians, the emphasis is always on the song, and the humor serves the songs (and the band) not the other way around. It's very hard to incorporate humor into music and not cross over the line to novelty, but these guys completely pulled it off. The bottom line with these guys is that the 3 of them are really good musicians and their songs are great. From the "It's A Small World" department, Dewey used to hang around in my old stomping grounds of Bellrose, NY, and many of his friends went to the same H.S. I did. Freaky! I strongly urged The Mathematicians to make another visit to Lincoln, and they said they would. I strongly urge you not to miss them if they do! - Tery Daly



Papers - Knickerbockers
Thieving Winona / Bears Eat Fish / Laughing Sam - 9th St. Basement - 04/23/04

Last night was a great night for me because I saw several new bands that totally blew me away. First I went to Knickerbockers to check out Papers. I'd heard so many great thing about them, but missed their first few shows. The descriptions I had heard about this band were kind of weird, and upon seeing them, they definitely are hard to pin down. They opened up with an instrumental that reminded me a lot of Neutral Milk Hotel. Then when the vocalists joined in on the next song, their harmonies are incredible. Tonight's show was kind of a weird one, because the other band scheduled to play cancelled, so Papers were playing the whole night by themselves. I could kind of tell that they were going to screw around a bit, and since this was the first time I was seeing them, I decided to wait and check out a show when they'd just be playing their regular set, a bit more seriously. I can't wait, because the few songs I heard were spectacular, and unlike anything that anyone else in Lincoln is doing right now.

When I left Knickerbockers I high-tailed it over to 9th St Basement in hopes of catching Thieving Winona. This was their first show, and I had no idea what to expect. For the sake of full-disclosure, I should state that the singer/lyricist in this band plays drums in two bands I'm in, but that just made my enjoyment of the show that much better, cause I just thought Jeff was a dumb ol' drummer...ya know, like they all are, but DAMN, this guys got the stuff, and I had NO idea! He's talked about being in this other band called Thieving Winona before, but he didn't talk about it much, and it just kind of seemed like a thing he and his friends did to fuck around and have fun. These guys are an incredible punk band. I don't know if it's their intent to be punk, but they are! They are everything that made punk great back in 1976-1978. They're kinda sloppy, they don't seem to take what they're doing too seriously, and they're having fun. Above all else, their songs are INCREDIBLE! The music is melodic and it rocks, The lyrics are really good, funny without be novelty-ish in any way! They honestly didn't have a bad song in the bunch. They played all the songs off their 5 song E.P., "Get Off My Woman, Conor!", and several newer songs. A few of the standouts were Wormcheck, Ultra Big Phil, Sweet & Low, and Prescription Anti-Gravity. Lead singer Jeff Gustafson, better known for his drumming in Minutia Stew and Suzy Dreamer & Her Nightmares, is a great frontman, and mentioned that many of the lyrics to tonight's show were made up on the spot, as evidenced when he broke a mic stand, and worked his apology to the club into the song lyrics during the song "3 Times". As if their music and performance wasn't punk rock enough, half way through the show, the band changed their name. They're no longer Thieving Winona, now they're called Bears Eat Fish. I hope to see a LOT more of this band.

Laughing Sam - I had read John Ziegler's review of a Laughing Sam show, and wanted to check him out. I dug the songs I heard, but like I did earlier in the evening with Papers, I decided to wait for another show, because tonight, Jared Bader from Minutia Stew was sitting in with the band. It's not that I don't like Jared's playing or anything, he's an awesome guitar player and he's great with Minutia Stew, but his being in Laughing Sam was just plain wrong. Imagine Joe Satriani sitting in with The Replacements, or Eddie Van Halen joining Neil Young, and you'll get the jist. I watched about 4 or 5 songs, all of which I liked, but decided I'd catch another show in the future. - Tery Daly



The Hooligans / Good With Guns - UNL - 04/15/04

So I'm sitting in my dorm room. And right out the window over the courtyard walls there's some Greek chick party fundraiser business going on, and there's this oi! punk band playing. I can see the crowd of Greek girls in their pink t-shirts huddled in crowds far away from the band, who is playing fairly standard Epitaph/Hellcat material with a grating oi! voice and pretty good guitar leads. It's the Hooligans, their first show. Ha! HA! They just said, "Sing along if you know it, kids." And now they're playing Blitzkrieg Bop. The voice is pretty tough, almost too tough, the band is fairly tight for their first show, and the Greek chicks are totally not into it. Which I can't really blame on the band. In fact, it makes me sentimental that there's a punk band playing for a bunch of sorority girls for what we can assume is a good cause, and nobody likes it.

It reminds me of some shows back in Grand Island. I have more or less grown tired of this sort of poppish/oi!/SoCal punk, but tonight, it's fresh and confrontational. Or maybe laughable, a bunch of urban crusty punks playing for the main clientelle of Max Tan. But hell! Play whenever wherever. That's rule #1 isn't it? And whether you like the Hooligans or not (which I think features some of the members of the now defunct Mr. Myagi), they have done a service to humanity by exposing many female members of the Greek system to their interpretation of punk music. Like I said, I got nostalgic. All that shit holds a special place in my heart. The kids like punk. I like kids. I want them all to be my friends, but I can't stop screaming things like "Less talk more rock!" and "Greeks love punk!" and "Turn that shit down!" from my window.

Epilogue: Good With Guns is about to play. Craig says "Hey." Complete Grecian silence. Craig: "I said 'hey', godamnit. You could at least say 'hey' back." Then there's a futile request for more bodies in pink shirts near the band. Wait... one Greek approaches. "Hey that's enough for me. This song's called Mr. Kickass." Good With Greeks. Bada ching! - John Ziegler



The Terminals / Gris Gris - Oleavers (Omaha) - 04/13/04

The following review was e-mailed to The Terminals the morning following their show:

Good fuckin' gawd, I don't know what sorta blackmail material you've got over Dave Goldberg, but set him free; that was one of the worst loads of bullshit i've ever heard!! Ya'all got my three bux this time, but next time i'll stay home and drive nails into my ears instead... But the gris gris sounded alright from the very little i was able catch and you appeared to fill out the miniskirt nicely, so it wasn't a complete loss. - Mykel



Laughing Sam / Carmine - UNL Culture Center - 04/01/04

This show started out with Laughing Sam, basically the flexing project of Carlin Mackie, who lives in the Bottoms with some good people. Tonight his brother, Chris, drummed, and it was just skins, drums and guitar. The amp sounded shitty, it was an old Ampeg, but it was 'shitty like a funnel-cake.' Carlin, big and lanky boy that he is, would feel the spirit of the music sway around like a jerky jerk Neil Young. Trashy blues songs and country-ish angsty stuff. It's nice to see a kid around my age sublimating his agression without a half-stack and two wrist bands with those fucking anarchy symbols. Carlin's got talent, see, cause he's young and his lyrics, although almost inaudible with the Culture Center's sound, were not dumb and poopy. Yeah, that's right. Dumb and poopy. Even though I couldn't hear them too well, I'm pretty sure they weren't dumb and poopy. I heard something about Omaha in there. How could they be dumb and poopy when he's singing about Omaha? No matter in what context. I like Laughing Sam. It's groovy and garagey, and a little affected by some singer song-writer stuff. They'll be around in a more solid form soon, I'd wager. Stay loose, keep rolling and shaking, more feedback, please.

Then there was Carmine, from Omaha. This was eightie's punk rock, a little like the Descendents and Husker Du, but without the umlauts. Double guitars, bass and drums, sing along vocals. Very tight. Very fast, tight tight tight tight drums, clever guitar hooks. I felt a little sorry for both bands, by the way, because there was probably five kids not involved with the Campus Free Thought Alliance (the organization who put this on) that came. But the seven people there were nice and loud, making it feel like a semi-packed show. I'd seen Carmine before at the Bro-fest or whatever it was at Sokol. And I would say very cautiously that they are pop-punk. Mind you, I'm not referring to anything you'll find at a Hot Topic. No fohawks, no shants. They play chimey, distorted open chords, for whatever illuminating value that description has. Soulful vocals. Shakey and full-lunged, a little like Bob Mould, so yeah, they get a lot of comparisons to Husker Du. And I know there's that omnipresent argument that goes something like, "if I want to hear band b, I'll just listen to the original stuff from band a." In this case, you'd be doing yerself a disservice, I'll warrant, yessir. It's loud! It has tight, syncopated starts and stops! It's sweaty, it's real, it's tangible, it's alive! Hopefully, Carmine will be one of those quality Omaha bands (they made the Reader's 'best bands of Omaha list,' although so did Venaculas, which was definitely planned by the writers for me to write that Venaculas is one of Omaha's best and brightest as an April Fool's Joke...) that comes to little brother Lincoln every now and then. And if all goes as planned, you can see them live at Knickerbockers on April 9th. Check this site for more details. - John Ziegler



Brian Johnson / Joe Buck / Rex Hobart - Duffy's - 03/10/04

Brian Johnson hasn't played since the demise of The Don'ts, but last night he pulled together a few former bandmates, strapped on an acoustic guitar, and took a trip down memory lane. Along with Ben Kushner (who previously played with Brian in The Self-Righteous Brothers) on guitar, Sean Moon (who previously played with Brian in The Don'ts) on bass, and Mike Keeling (who also shared the stage with Brian & Ben in The Self Righteous Brothers) joining in to help out on vocals on the last few songs, Brian played songs by his former bands, The Don'ts, The Self Righteous Brothers, and The Sissies, the latter two being landmark Lincoln bands.

Joe Buck was up next, and played a great set that started off with "Sinking Fast", and among other songs included "Song About Other Things", "Rockets Red & White", and "Francis From Idaho", a beautiful yet hilarious song that teaches that the grass isn't always greener on the other side of the state line. Sadly, PA problems affected an otherwise excellent set. Joe Buck tends to play a few shows kind of close together in time, then go for a while wihtout playing. You should make EVERY attempt to get to a show!

Rex Hobart closed out the night, and the PA problems that affected Joe Buck's set ended up requiring Rex to do half his set without the use of the PA at all. He and his two band mates just jumped off the stage, and played in the crowd. After a few minutes, they left the band room and wandered over into the bar side, and played their last few songs leaning up against the pool table in there. - Tery Daly



Shyaway / Shacker / Marianas - Duffy's Tavern - 2/25/04

The crowd down at Duffy's for Powerless III was pretty big for local bands on a Wednesday night, and very enthusiastic, and they were rewarded with a great show. Shyaway started the show off. Their adjustment over to the acoustic format didn't require that great a change, but performing that way did allow their vocal harmonies to really shine through, and the keyboard melodies also came through much more than any of their electric sets I've seen. Their recent change from playing with two guitarists to a 4 piece, one guitar lineup, hasn't caused them to miss a beat, and the band sounds just as full as it had all along.

Marianas played next, and they blew me out of the water. They set aside their laptop sequencer, 2 keyboards, and guitar effects and in their place used acoustic guitars, accordians, cornet, bells, and xylophones. Of all the bands who've played a Powerless show to date, these guys took the biggest risk with their music and the payoff for those in attendance was huge. Their set reminded me a lot of a mellower Neutral Milk Hotel. (after the set, Aaron Coleman told me he'd been listening to NMH earlier that day) Marianas defintely evoked a mood during their set. Re-working their songs to play them with this instrumentation displayed some very different facets of their music. Marianas don't usually play too many songs with vocals, but last night we got 3. Whether it's intentional or not, during their electric sets, the vocals kind of always strike me as just being another instrument in the mix, and the lyrics aren't always that clearly discernable, but last night they came through and really emphasized the lyrics. The guitar interplay between Aaron Grauer and Ryan Dee stood out as well. It sounded like the band had to disect their songs and decide what they wanted to empahsize, and with what instrument. The arrangements were beautiful, and were a definite hit with the audience. A few people in the audience said the thought they liked them better this way. Ryan Dee said they're considering doing part of their next CD in a more stripped down format like they played last night, which means getting the best of both worlds.

Shacker closed out the set, and like Marianas set, they made some big arrangement adjustments as well. No one who saw Shacker last night would have guessed that during their normal sets they sound a bit like Weezer or a slightly poppier Nirvana. C. Howie Howard left his drum set at home last night, and switched over to guitar for almost the whole set, only switching to percussion once to keep the beat on a Djembe. The two guitar approach suited the songs really well, and filled out their sound nicely. For me, the hightlight was Annie Aspengren's cello playing. During the bands electric sets, it sometimes get's overwhelmed, but last night it was evident how much it really adds to Cory Kibler's songs. They did their song "Placing Blame" at about half of it's usual speed, and that allowed the cello to shine, and on "I'm Over It" Annie and Bassist Jaimie Tucci did a beutiful job of accenting each other with their sliding lines.

Tonight's show was definitely the Powerless show to beat! - Tery Daly



Raft / The Show Is The Rainbow / The Ssion - Duffy's Tavern - 1/29/04

First off, I know it was cold outside, but when Duffy's gets a show that has a headlining act from out of town, and by out of town, I mean also out of state and not from Omaha, we all need to get out and see them play. Maybe we won't like the foreign band, maybe our friends aren't in the band, and maybe we don't even like the band. But if we want new and invigorating ideas to come to Lincoln, we need to support the out-of-towners. It's safe to say that The Ssion, from Kansas City, brings new and invigorating ideas about music, at least as far as Lincoln is concerned. The low attendance was poor. Maybe if The Ssion, from Kansas City, received as much publicity as Rilo Kiley, more people would have shown up.
Secondly, if you're going to watch a show at Duffy's, go ahead and walk ALL THE WAY into the room where the bad is. There was plenty of room and everyone bungled up right by the ATM and that's idiotic. It makes it hard for people to get in and out of the room, especially anyone cocktailing. Moreover, the sound is better, and the view is better. Hell, you paid to get in, so get some of your money's worth. And a final note to Duffy's: if someone is going to use the screen for audio/visual value, go ahead and point the camera up a bit so the people in the other side of the room can see it, too.

Raft
Joe Krings and Pat Noecker are two great guys, but this type of ambient-drone-art-fag crap just doesn't jerk my chain anymore, and I'm not sure it ever really did. Maybe you needed to spend an entire hour intently focused on the presentation to really appreciate what was going on, but you can also go to a laser light show of Pink Floyd's The Wall and at least then the pretension is blunted somewhat by the fact that Pink Floyd was British. Besides, I'd much rather spend an hour bitching about corporate jobs with Julee. I rate them: One light bulb and 1 noisy refrigerator.

The Show is the Rainbow
The first time, I believed that this was one of the most entertaining displays ever to hit the Duffy's tables. This being my second time, I found it to be still entertaining, but he's going to have to get some new songs. If no new songs come soon, the schtick is going to become bland because everyone will be desensitized after awhile. I'm not saying he should write as many songs as Wesley Willis, but just that the gig is starting to turn tits up. He leaves nothing behind, and he sells himself with a great intensity that very few people can claim to come close to. As with The Ssion, he chooses to lock himself into a pre-recorded soundtrack to rap/sing over and I don't know if I like this approach to music. The performer needs to adapt to each audience and take into account what the audience is enjoying and what it's not. Also, while it is a male performer's freedom to take off his shirt, it might be advisable for The Show is the Rainbow to at least wear a sports bra next time. It will continue to be funny for a long time, however, to watch the horror on the audience's collective face as he runs around and yells and threatens them with his body. I rate him: 2 patches of hair on a back.

The Ssion
I was warned in advance by several people who have respectable tastes in music that this was an act to see. You have to respect any band that is willing to wear ridiculous outfits and provide some extra visual entertainment on the screen above. The only thing I'd say about the movie above was that it seemed a bit "lead singer-centric" and he certainly seems to be his own biggest fan. Standing up close, you could tell that they hadn't showered in awhile, too. Maybe next time, some deodorant would be in order. I rather enjoyed the birthing of the snake out of the male lion's vagina, which may possess some sort of pretentious high brow allegory, but I found it to be simply a wonderful sight gag. Like the Show is the Rainbow, they don't play instruments onstage, but rather choose to focus most of their energy on fairly uncoordinated dance steps and falling and flailing about. I'm fine with that, but after seeing the spectacle, I'd like to see them play instruments live, too. The music itself was poppy and fun, maybe even with some rememberable aspects. It seems that they have put together some sort of complete package of musical talent, audio/visual talent, and pure stagemanship talent. I rate them: 4 Male Lion Vaginas.
- Jack Jackson

Rent Money Big / The Bad Sects / Mr. 1986 - Duggan's Pub - 1/22/04

Rent Money Big kicked off the show tonight, and they brought the ROCK! Unfortunately, tonight's set was marred by REALLY bad sound. The guitar & bass kind of blurred together, and I don't think the soundman was quite sure what to do with Tim's vocals, because they were pretty muddy and inaudible too. The band still put on an excellent show, in spite of the bad sound. They songs were great and the performance was as good as ever. During some R$B shows, you'll see Tim back flop off the kick drum and onto the floor at the end of the set. Last night he did one off one of the PA bins, which was more than twice the height of a kick drum. He actually bounced when he hit the floor, and it looked like it hurt.

The Bad Sects played next, and holy shit! The recording studio has a way of turning good bands into great bands. Most bands generally don't practice songs, or sections of songs over and over they way they might have to in the studio, but drilling like that tends to make a band a LOT tighter. Two months in the studio has done The Bad Sects a world of good. Their show was more powerful and tight than I've ever heard them before. Courtney's drumming has come a LONG way since the start of the band. At one point during the set, James said "It's good to be back", and their show definitely reflected that. It looked and sounded like the band was having a great time, and I know the audience certainly did. Their set included Dance Away, Two Chord Arsenal, Find The Heart, and Build My Gallows High, and they all sounded better than ever. No Pallbearer tonight, which bummed me out, but I've been assured they'll play it on Sunday at Duffy's. If you weren't able to be at tonight's show, Sunday's is a must see!

Mr. 1986 closed out the show with their wall of sound. Their new keyboard player adds a lot to the band, especially during the quieter passages, when you can really hear him. Several people I talked to, some who had never seen the band before, made comparisons to bands as varied as Mogwai and Yes. The band definitely has some elements of 70's prog, without being completely overblown the way a lot of that music was. When Mr. 1986 cranks, they make my chest vibrate, and that's a good thing. I'm really looking foward to Mr. 1986's Powerless performance on February 25th, becuase I'm dying to see how they're going to pull it off!

Another great night of rock in Lincoln! - Tery Daly

Another person submitted a review of this same show:

My social calendar is full enough between divorce proceedings and drunken nights at Cliffs, but when three bands with as much buzz as Rent Money Big, The Bad Sects, and Mr. 1986 are playing on one bill, I'll make sure to be there.

When I arrived Rent Money Big had already completed much of their show. Immediately I was struck by the vintage Fender P-bass worn by the bass player. A nice medium brown, it had marks of wear and a duct-taped strap. Its player wore a newish black Led Zeppelin T-shirt with a white long underwear shirt under it. This tired Seattle-meets Tulsa parking lot look was offset by rocking Converse shoes. The rest of the band didn't fare so well. The guitarist's pants were tight through the legs, but had a very long rise, leaving no chance of any tight crotch views. Vintage Pumas were sadly out-of-place. The singer gets high marks for his Adidas Samba shoes, but they were mostly obscured by very unsexy loose grey pants that were belted well below his waist and torn around the leg openings. His red T-shirt didn't compliment the ensemble. At the end of their set, he climbed a speaker cabinet and fell off backwards. Eddie Vedder used to do that sort of thing, but I dare anyone to recognize him today. The drummer was so unsexy that I didn't even take notes about him. Overall the sexiest member was the bassist, but the guitarist made up for his trousers with pretty great hair. And what's with that name Rent Money Big? You'll never make the Hit Parade with that name, fellows. How about Bent for the Rent? That's funnier by half and gives a nod to Spinal Tap, too.

The Bad Sects, on the other hand, have the best name of any band in Lincoln. Unfortunately, only one member, the guitarist, seems to have gone out of his way to look sexy. Wearing a long-sleeved black dress shirt with ruffles and black trousers, he looked very much like Bernard Sumner from his Joy Division days. The bassist wore an Eraserhead T-shirt over grey pants and Converse shoes. The grey and black was echoed by the drummer, who finished her ensemble with a black jacket, and nine bullet holes in her bass drum head. Nice touch, that.

Mr. 1986 was the unknown quantity of the evening. All I had heard about them was that they were rather shoegaze-y. Pity that they didn't gaze longer at other parts of their wardrobe. The bassist was the worst offender, wearing a knit cap and a hooded sweatshirt to complement his five-string (!) bass. The overall feeling one got was that of a man who aspired to play for a Dave Matthews cover band. Similar tired hippie trappings were evidenced by the guitarist on stage left whose six effects pedals were operated from Birkenstock-shod feet. The other guitarist at stage right, however, had a sexy blond mane that was daringly cropped in straight locks that fell about his face and neck. Looking a little like the son of Justin Hayward, he deftly accented his black Gibson 335-ish guitar with eight effects pedals, beating his bandmate by two. Center stage was a keyboard player in front of a drummer. Neither impressed with their sense of fashion, but the drummer was an excellent player.

Did I just mention the music? It seems I've overstepped my purview.

I apologize again for all my shortcomings. - C. K. Dexter Haven



Earmeat / The Amalgamators / The Doxies - Duffy's Tavern - 1/18/04

Earmeat is the solo work Greg Peterson formerly of Pornado, and Post-Trendies. While the recorded work or Earmeat is full band arrangements, tonight was just Greg and his guitar. The sparser arrangments tonight really emphasized the well-written lyrics, and show what a good songwriter Greg is. I heard some traces of what I thought might be influences in the music, but they were so slight, I won't even mention them here. Instead, I'll just say next time you see a listing for an Earmeat show (and hopefully there will be more), go see it and see what you think.

The Amalgamators were next, and I've never heard them sound better. The recent addition of Brian "Pickle" Gerkensmeyer (on standup bass) added a whole new dimension to the great songs that Pat Bradley & Hugh Hanson were already playing, and that was never more evident than last night. In addition to their own great songs, The set included their version of "Girl From The North Country" by Bob Dylan, and a couple of Bill Monroe tunes. I generally found Hugh's mandolin too quite for the first half of the show, and his guitar too quiet for the whole show. The show was recorded, so that might have had something to do with it, but hopefully this great show will be available to the public soon. The Amalgamators have several shows coming up in February, so if you haven't caught this great bluegrass/americana outfit yet, you're missing out!

Columbia, MO's The Doxies closed the show. I stood and watched their first several songs, but found myself pretty quickly dissapointed. They were a garagey-rootsy-alt-countryish band, with a strong Beggars Banquet/Let it Bleed era Stones feel. Ordinarily that's something I would really like, but these guys just weren't up to the task. For some reason, they came off sounding like a cover band, even while playing their own songs. Just my personal opinion here, but if you're going to open your show with a Stones cover, make it a way more obsure one than Jumpin' Jack Flash. Someone I was talking to said that they thought opening their set with a Stones cover was a bad idea because it just underscored how mediocre their own songs were in comparison. Later in their set played a CCR cover, which made me think that even as a cover band, they wouldn't be a particularly good one.
- Tery Daly



The Ghostrunners / The Carcinogents - Duggan's Pub - 1/16/04

The Ghostrunners' set was as powerful as usual. This night, I really noticed the double guitar effect. During one of there songs, which had a slow build up on one muted power chord, the guitars exchanged turns at playing the song's rhythm. You'd hear guitar crunch from the left, then the guitar response from the right playing the next part of the phrase. If it were people, it'd be like me saying, "Two plus two is..." and you saying, "f-f-f-four, motha...," and me saying, "fucka'!" That's teamwork. That's technical ingenuity. Their songs got that throb, that sort of flowing pulse, which is in no small way owed to their bass player and drummer, who gets into the songs like few drummers around, shaking around like a dirvish and brutalizing his kit. Then of course, are the greasy guitar riffs, the cock rock, that fuck-off kind of playing that doesn't ask forgiveness for what some people might call a lack of taste. But hamburgers are generally more filling than caviar.

Then there were the Carsinogents. Frontman Dave Electro said, "Hello, bare floor, nice to see you again," and then the song came blasting out of nowhere. You know there has to be some sort of a cue to start out a set like that, but they're like wizards, they surprise, they use misdirection, and then POW! I didn't see the cue, I was totally duped. It's like magic. Anyway, Mr. Electro was wearing dark shades and sliding around with his vintage "Sun Records" mic, sliding down to his knees during the short breakdowns and barking the song back to life with his trashy stacatto rhymes. Like always, they brought the visual performance. Unfortunately, all but a scant minority of Duggan's crowd hung towards the back, and the Carsinogents ended a song or two early. Nevertheless, another performance full of surprises and nearly sleight-of-hand tricks. It can't be said too much that the Carsinogents have their live dynamic down. - John Ziegler



The Hornrimjobs / Mannheim Creamslinger - Duffy's Tavern - 1/04/04

If you've seen The Hornrimjobs before, you pretty much know what to expect from them. Tonight we got more Militant Feminism, Gay Hogs, Live Journal entries, and Free Cocaine being flung around the stage. We learned how crafts such as knitting and scrapbooking are being used to sexually subjugate women, and how there'll be fucking in the aisles of Hobby Lobby when women break free of those chains. No Vespas or Accordions tonight, but we did get Sylvia, playing French Horn on one song, and on another wrapping her head in aluminum foil, and dancing with a power drill which MORE than made up for it. As always a very funny set from Sylvia & Alice.

This was Mannheim Creamslinger's (AKA Pawl Tisdale) CD Release party, but Pawl assured us that none of the songs he was playing tonight appeared on the CD. More technoish Uber-percussive songs with some singing and lots of dancing, both from Pawl, and the footage of American Bandstand dancers he had playing behind him. We also were treated to a cover of Human League's "Don't You Want Me Baby" sung by Pawl and a "voluneer" from the audience. I have to confess, I generally get so swept up in watching the video's that play during a Mannheim Creamslinger set, I probably don't pay as much attention to the music as I should, but Pawl always edits together some really interesting film and TV footage to go with this set. In addition to the AB, there was also some Kung Fu movie footage, scenes from 2001: A Space Oddessy, and some footage from some wierd 1960's teenage version of Gullivers Travels, with surfers, dancers, and giants.

The bad weather kept this show from being as well attended as it otherhwise might have been, but those who did brave the weather and made it out were treated to a fine show. Roarbot! was supposed to play this show also, but the snow stranded some members in Hastings, so they had to cancel. Too bad, I was looking forward to seeing them. - Tery Daly



Suzy Dreamer & Her Nightmares - Knickerbockers - 1/03/04
If you ever have the chance to see this Lincoln act, do so. You are in for a treat. From the moment they take the stage, Suzy Dreamer and Her Nightmares begin haunting the crowd with their unique and eerie style. Suzy Dreamer, aka Kristen Bailey, fronts the band and keeps the acoustic rhythm. She demands the audienceís attention. When the group played their first song, Brendan Gonzalez, I immediately felt half of me was being transported into the late 60ís and the other half into the Hollywood Tower of Terror. Kristenís voice is a haunting take on Jefferson Airplaneís Grace Slick. The band could have covered Somebody to Love without missing a beat. But there was no need for cover music. Suzyís dreams, more like nightmares, provide more than enough graphic content to keep the listener intrigued. And the music fits the lyrics...should I say...paranormally? The band stabbed through Mikeís Mouth, J.F.K. Jr., Flying Wallendas, Floating Mathematical Lizards, 352 over 560, and Melting Monsters High School. My favorite was 352 over 560, with its rumbling Who-like intro. Adding the perfect Beatles influence on his classy Rickenbacker, Tery Daly plays lead and also backs up Kristen on vocals. Their voices blend smoothly and sinisterly. Keeping a ghostly beat is Sean Moon on drums and Eric Aspengren on bass. Donít miss the next Suzy Dreamer show near you. Although I left the show a bit frightened, I left with a true appreciation for the masterful songwriting and musicianship of this group of. . .spirits? - Tim McCarty