Bands From the Crypt Review

Written by Gerald Glaza • October 2017

Lookout Lounge / Omaha, Nebraska / October 14, 2017

Written by: David Taylor / Photo by: Geraldography

October is the month of Halloween, so having a show called Bands from the Crypt and also having a costume contest during the show was a good idea. Aorta Music & Management brought an awesome line-up of local bands to the Lookout Lounge, including Desiato, Black Sky Burning, Here/After, and The Phoenix Principle.

First band up was the Phoenix Principle. This was my second time seeing them live after seeing them in July at the Waiting Room. Such a soulful rock n’ roll band. Jared Gottberg is such an underrated singer. So much soul in his voice, it’s ridiculous. I think it’s cool that their lyrics of their songs are about Middle Earth, very reminiscent of the the almighty Led Zeppelin. I also think that Brent Tuxhorn is such an underrated guitarist, as well. That man can shred for days. Great opening set by the Phoenix Principle. Looking forward to some recorded material in the future.

Next up was Here/After. They are pop punk/hard rock band led by singer Kayla Bulin. They were really catchy. Kayla’s vocals were superb, reminiscent to those of one Hayley Williams of Paramore. They even threw in a cool cover of the Red Jumpsuit Apparatus’s “Face Down”. Great lead guitar playing by Ryan Condrey. They opened up with “1UP”, which is a song about Mario rescuing Princess Peach, which is pretty rad. Check them out of you haven’t. You will not be disappointed.

The direct support of the night came from Black Sky Burning. I will always rememberer them when they were called Dirtfedd as they were they first metal band I had seen because they opened up Knotfest in 2012, so they’ll always be in my heart. Seeing Derrek Sammons of When Towers Fall with another band was pretty cool, yet surprising to say the least. He always kills it live. They were super heavy and tight live. Everybody in the band killed it on their respective instruments. Can’t wait for their new EP!

Finally, it was Desiato turn to hit the stage. The hard rock power trio were solid through all their set. Blake Jones’s vocals were stunning. Tyler Sims is one of the best bass players in the scene. Loved the use of CO2 during the performance. Gives off a unique quality to them. The band was tight, rhythmically, thanks to Aaron Rowe’s drumming and Tyler Sims’s bass playing. I did enjoyed Blake’s use of the double-necked guitar. It’s not every show you see that. But, overall, great set by Desiato. I was glad to finally seen them live after having seen Blake Jones at shows. Check these guys out because they’re talented musicians and looking forward to future material.

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Floozies with BoomBox Review

Written by Gerald Glaza • October 2017

Sokol Auditorium / Omaha, Nebraska / September 28, 2017

Written by: Pat Douglas / Photo by: Pollieography

Being unfamiliar with all the bands, we weren’t too sure of what to expect on this Thursday night at Sokol. We knew a little of BoomBox, so we knew the basic style of music to expect, but by and large we went in blind. That, however, turned out to be a good thing as it let us be surprised at what was in store for us. Sokol is an interesting venue in Omaha, as it has a lot of history, always has a wide variety of acts coming through to perform and, like this show itself, you never really know what the night has in store for you. The surprises started early and kept coming throughout the night.

Surprise one was the fact that we got there early (only about 5 minutes before doors open), but there was hardly any line. At Sokol, it usually doesn’t matter what bands are playing, there is almost always a decent sized line before the doors open. The lack of a line can’t be blamed on the weather either as it was beautiful out. So much so that Hollie & I rode the Harley to the show. There were only about 6 people in line when we got there and the doors opened up shortly after that. I guess tonight was a night when people planned things out perfectly, as the small crowd filled up very fast. The music started about 30 minutes after we got in and the crowd had grown from about 10 to about 200 by this time.

First up, according to all the information I had, was Late Night Radio out of Denver, CO. From the research I had done, they are a two piece band with a decidedly electronic funk vibe going on. I was fairly excited for this as it is along the lines of BoomBox and lines up nicely with my own musical background. However, what ended up happening was one guy with a laptop. I’m not sure if the full band will be there for other shows on this tour (this was the first night of this tour I think) or this is just how the tour is playing out and not be advertised as such. Many people around me were heard remarking what a great DJ this guy was. I will say, he did have a fantastic track selection and I really enjoyed the music he was playing, however I don’t think it was really DJ’ing. You can call me old school if you want, but I grew up on old school DJs. Guys and gals who would lug around bags and boxes of actual records, they’d put on a set of headphones and they would actually manually beat match records along with picking out the tracks to play. This guy didn’t even have headphones…it seemed he was just picking a track and pressing his spacebar – letting his software beat match and mix for him. I’m not trying to take away from the guy, as my research did tell me he is a popular DJ in the Colorado scene. I just didn’t really see any evidence of actual DJ’ing.

Next up was who we were both really looking forward to – BoomBox. They are a two piece band out of Muscle Shoals, Alabama. BoomBox has a very unique a cultured sound that has been born of the popularity of the EDM scene and laced with loads of Grateful Dead influence – not to mention some decidedly hip-hop influences thrown in for good measure. Founding member Zion Godchaux, son of Keith and Donna Jean Godchaux (who both performed in the Grateful Dead) has had a very varied upbringing in the music scene and it really shows in his song writing. Writing catchy hooks on his guitar and layering it all with his catchy lyrics, the only thing that stands out more are the grooves laid down by DJ Harry. Using drum machines, sequencers, samplers and a full on DJ setup – the groove behind Zion’s magic is enough to keep a dance floor packed and sweaty. This duo has really put together something unique and catchy enough to hit the airwaves, the dancehall or just something to bounce to at the bar. From tunes like (my favorite) Mr. Boogie Man, Stereo and Midnight on the Run – the beats were fresh and it kept the now near capacity crowd captivated from start to finish.

Closers for the night were the Midwest’s own The Floozies. Hailing from Lawrence, Kansas – the Floozies really packed them in. With Sokol hall now packed to the gills, the lights went down and the show really began. These guys are true performers. Also a two piece, you’d never really know just from the sound of things. Comprised of brothers Mark & Matt Hill, the sound these guys produce if full, intricate and fully engaging. With Mark on the drum kit, that leaves most everything else up to Matt. His setup was mind blowing. He stands on stage surrounded by guitars, bass, samplers, drum machines, keyboards, microphones and even a talk box. All this, mixed with an amazing light show really put a nice cap on the evening. The Floozies are truly original and are a sight to behold. Close your eyes and take a listen or keep them peeled and take it all in - these guys really are not only talented musicians, but also talented performers. They bring it all on this tour and if you weren’t there for it…shame on you. You should have been.

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Matchbox Twenty Presented by Stir Cove

Written by Karen Freeman • October 2017

Written by Cydney Phelps

 

Here we are, the end of Stir Cove’s lucky season 14. What an incredible year it’s been. It’s hard to believe it’s over. And with a finale like Matchbox Twenty, it’s really only gotten me pumped for what season 15 will offer.

 

Friday night we had a change of venue due to the weather. And given the lightening storm we had, I’m so grateful that decision was made. So we packed the MAC! The Mid-America Center, that is. It was a little different, but Stir and staff made it happen! The attendees were a mixed bag of teenagers to middle-agers. And though there were plenty of seats all around, all I saw were people standing. It was a little more difficult to gauge the crowd in a venue like the MAC, but from what I saw, there was not a disappointed patron in the house. The amount of dancing and singing was a joy to witness. Just a free spirited party that was so incredibly refreshing.

 

Matt Nathanson opened the show with a short, but very sweet set. A veteran to the scene, Nathanson has been making music since the early 90’s. He’s been a very good compliment to this tour.

 

Being the second to last show of this tour, Matchbox Twenty was full of a magnetic energy. This was my second time seeing them, the last time was about 15-ish years ago. Let me tell you, they haven’t changed one bit! They sound exactly the same in the best way possible. One of my favorite shows Stir has put on, if I’m being honest! I will mention once again how grateful I am that the show was moved indoors. The light show that came with the music was a spectacle in itself. At one point, Mother Nature’s light show outside caused a power surge with some technical difficulties. Rob Thomas suggested it was a good time to use the facilities, how thoughtful! We were then treated to a beautiful acoustic cover of Cyndi Lauper’s Time after Time. Rob warned that his earpiece wasn’t working yet, so he couldn’t hear anything and invited us all to sing with him. There aren’t words to describe that moment. One I will remember for a very long time. The band’s first (yep, first) encore was kicked off with a tribute to the late, great Tom Petty. Matt Nathanson joined in for I Won’t Back Down. It was therapeutic, really. We all felt it and we all meant it. Just as we all turned around to leave like a herd of turtles after the encore, we were pleasantly surprised to hear Matchbox come back on stage! One more glorious song, Simple Minds’ Don’t You Forget About Me. Those “La La La’s” went on and on and I’m still singing them! What a blast! In between all the covers, they offered up the best of their best. I seriously can’t say enough about this show. I’ll be talking about it for days to come!

 

Matchbox Twenty has been blessing us with their talents for over twenty years now. Hailing from Orlando, Florida, the band is still going strong with all but one of the original members. After a couple of hiatuses, we’re so glad the band is finally back together and doing what they do best. They promised to keep on going as long as we keep on listening. I know I will!

 

I want to thank Stir Cove from the bottom of my heart for continuing to provide us all with the opportunities to see such amazing artists. From the legends to the newbies and the inbetweeners. We are so very lucky. Again to staff and security, we literally could not do it without you! I am already itching to hear the lineup in the spring time for Season 15. I’ll see you all at the Cove!!  

Click the link to see images from the show: http://nightlifeco.com/omaha/gallery/matchbox-20-w-matt-nathanson-at-the-mac

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The Avett Brothers at Stir Cove

Written by Karen Freeman • October 2017

Written By Cydney Phelps

 

Thursday at Stir was our last night at the Cove for the season. And what a night it was. The weather certainly wasn’t ideal, but to me, it was pleasant. It wasn’t freezing and it wasn’t pouring. It was beautiful. The rain may have had some people shying away from the concert, but for those of us that were there, it had us moving in closer together, almost to a huddle. It felt so intimate. The evening’s concert goers were mostly of the younger kind. The vibe was interesting, somewhat electric, really. It was full of love and that theme radiated throughout.

 

We did not have an opening act on Thursday, so we were able to just get right down to business at 8:00, practically right on the dot. This was my first time seeing The Avett Brothers. Though they are nearly a Stir staple, my mom is usually the lucky one to cover their shows. She’s a huge fan. And now I know exactly why. I had heard them before on Pandora, but now I’m over here trying to figure out how to get their entire catalog on my cellular device. I guess people don’t really buy CDs anymore...is that true? Anyway, amazing is an understatement. I felt like seeing them was exactly what we all needed after just the weirdest week. They lit up that stage like they owned it. I had actual goosebumps. Their lyrics were meaningful and their instrumentals were flawless. What a privilege it was to be with them and everyone else that night.

 

The Avett Brothers have been together as a band since 2000. But brothers Scott and Seth have been making music together since childhood. A group full of self starters, together with their conviction and eclectic sounds, they have settled into this wonderful pocket of Folk Rock. The kind of music you can sing and dance to. The kind of music that everyone likes. The kind of music that will defy time and reach people of any age.

 

Thank you, Stir for allowing us all to come to the Cove one more time this year. What a way to leave it! Thank you to the security and staff for being everything we need them to be. Stay tuned for the season finale of Stir Concert Series 2017 with Matchbox 20!

See photos here: http://nightlifeco.com/omaha/gallery/the-avett-brothers

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A Fall Evening W/ Strung Out

Written by Gerald Glaza • September 2017

A Fall Evening With Strung Out

Review and Photo by Josh Bellows

This review comes to you from the heart of a long time fan of the band STRUNG OUT.

Last Sunday evening, September 24th, 2017, the Slowdown in Omaha, NE played host to a small bill of some veteran ska/punk rock bands. Four friends and I were there for one reason though, STRUNG OUT.

If you’re not familiar with Strung Out, here’s the breakdown. They formed in 1989 in Southern California making Strung Out one of the longest lasting, ever-progressing bands on the punk dynasty record label, Fat Wreck Chords.

Chaotic & melodic, Strung Out is a genre twisting, methodically produced punk rock band with limitless range. Singer/songwriter, Jason Cruz, practically wrote the soundtrack to my confusing teenage years and did it graciously. With a huge vocal range and backed by an uber-talented group of musicians, Jordan Burns, Jake Kiley, Chris Aiken & Rob Ramos, Jason’s thought provoking, well-sculpted lyrics relay messages of hope & love, as well as, urban decay & civil unrest.

As a teenager, every line, of every bar, of every song brought tears of heartache, fists of rage and promise of hope as I blasted down the backroads of my hometown in search of the meaning of life. In true teenage angst fashion, I found solace in music. More so, I believe, than any other kid to wear a pair of headphones and sing out loud, the words that no one else understood.

Many moons later, as an (adult), I still feel that literal hair-raising effect from their music. It may take a little longer to find the feeling but it always emerges and, for a brief moment, I am 16 again. I will never lose that. Music has gifted this to me.

Omaha, NE has always had a booming music scene and continues to produce great, internationally known acts. For bands like Strung Out, who have toured for over 25 years solely on the devotion of their fans, Omaha can be a hit or miss stop while on the road. Usually smaller, more intimate shows, consisting of “die hard” Strung Out fans as well as a newer, younger fan base with ears for talent.

Their 8 song set at Slowdown was short, yes, but as always, a beast of sensory stimulating melodies and precise song placement that was as good and, undeniably polished, as the first time I saw them in 1996. The crowd was thin but in tune with the band and, in my opinion, this makes for a great personal experience. Strung Out, to me, seems like scientists of their craft. While some other Fat Wreck Chords acts have seemed to reach a plateau, as far as progression goes, the Strung Out I’ve witnessed over the years is forever thriving and shows no signs of slowing. They stand taller, in my eyes, than their peers and continue to push the pigeon-holed envelope of what punk rock is (supposed) to be. Their music is forever in my heart and forever worn, with pride, tattooed on my back.

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I Prevail: Rage on the Stage Review

Written by Gerald Glaza • September 2017

I Prevail: Rage on the Stage Review by David Taylor

I Prevail has been coming to Omaha ever since they played River Riot in the summer of 2015. This was their fifth show since. Every show they have played in Omaha always has a good turnout, with the music, a perfect blend of heavy and melodic, that makes the people still come. This was their second time playing Sokol Auditorium, after playing there in May. This time, they brought out three bands with that metalcore sound to them, but have been in the scene for awhile: We Came As Romans, The Word Alive, and Escape The Fate. This was their best tour package they could come up with, since it was their biggest tour, yet.

Escape The Fate, from Las Vegas, kicked off the show. They haven’t been back in the area since 2014, so it was nice to finally have them back. This was the only band on the bill I hadn’t seen before, but I was looking forward to finally seeing them. They opened up with “Just a Memory”, off their last album, Hate Me. I was very impressed by Kevin Thrasher’s guitar playing. He shredded up and down the neck of his guitar, very virtuosic. Craig Mabbitt, singer, sounded amazing, just like the records. Robert Ortiz, drummer, killed it on the drums. They even took the time to debut a new song, “Four Letter Word”, off their upcoming album. Overall, good set to open up the show.

Next band up was The Word Alive from Phoenix, AZ. I have seen this band before twice, but this was their first time playing the Auditorium since their tour with Killswitch Engage in 2013, which was a phenomenal show. Telle Smith, singer, is one of the best frontmen out there, always energetic and giving a performance like it’s his last. He also has an incredible voice. Though, they have been through a couple of member changes, they still persevered and gave an incredible performance. They, too, debuted a new song, “Red Clouds”, off their upcoming album. It was super heavy and fast, always a good thing to hear from them. I think Zack Hansen is one of the most underrated guitarists out there in the scene. His playing is one of kind. It was another great performance from The Word Alive. Highly recommend to check them out.

The direct support of the night was We Came As Romans. I saw them last year around this same time at Sokol, direct supporting Parkway Drive on their tour. They opened up their set with the lead single and title song off their upcoming album that is coming out on SharpTone Records on October 20, “Cold Like War”, a fast and heavy song with a catchy chorus. I thought it was interesting to see Kyle Pavone, singer, behind a programming setup, reminiscent to Linkin Park. It seemed like it was his comfort zone there. Dave Stephens, unclean vocalist, always kills it live, very energetic, as well. The new songs blended well with the older material. Andy Glass, bassist, is also fun to watch live, always giving 110%, with his interesting facial expressions. They are always fun to watch. I am looking forward to their new album next month.

Finally, it was, also from Detroit, I Prevail’s turn to play. So, the tour is called Rage on the Stage for a reason. In the back of the stage was a wrestling ring, which was used as a drum riser. Before every song they played, they talked about what they love about professional wrestling, whether it is the entrance music, the villains, the theatrics, etc. They always give an impressive live show, this time going all out with the CO2. It was also nice seeing Steve Menoian, guitarist, again, since he wasn’t at the last show in order to get ready for his wedding. Eric Vanlerberghe, unclean vocals, is such a monster vocalist. He also likes his Lil Jon references, even covering a very mellow cover of “Get Low”. They performed a snippet of their cover of Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space”, a song that got them their big break. It kinda surprised me that they didn’t performed that song in full, but I totally understand they do not want to be the band known for the Taylor Swift song. There were so many crowd surfers, as this is a band that appeals to many young and energetic fans. I Prevail is always fun to watch live and I can see why Omaha loves them, as they have many devoted fans.

Picture above by Audrey Wright Photography

Click the following link to see more images from the show: http://nightlifeco.com/omaha/gallery/rage-on-the-stage-i-prevail

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