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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.
Written by Gerald Glaza • September 2017
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
Written by Gerald Glaza • September 2017
Omaha locals More than Blood recently took the time to answer our questions as part of our Spotlight Omaha Q & A series.
What is the name of your band? More than Blood
Who are the members of More Than Blood?
Martin Hastie - Lead Vocals/Guitar David Anderson - Rhythm Guitar/Vocals Jon "Frost" Echtinaw - Lead Guitar Jack "Phoenix" Larson - Drums Tristan Nolan - Bass/Vocals
How did you come up with the name? Martin: Jon originally suggested more than kin and I liked it, but wanted to take the same meaning and make it sound heavier – so I suggested More than Blood.
Has the name of the band ever changed? No.
When did the band officially form? Martin: Around July of 2015.
What inspired the band to make music together? Martin: Tristan and myself had played a lot I'd shows together with our other bands and one day decided we wanted to collaborate together and see what we could do.
How long have you all known each other? Martin: I’ve known Dave for around 9 years, and Tristan for at least 4. Jon and Jack maybe closer to 3.
How did you all meet? Martin: Met Tristan and Jack through playing shows together in our other bands (Splitline , Nevermind the riot). I believe we all met Jon from his time playing guitar for The Impulsive .
What genre of music do you consider you work to be? Martin: I consider us Metalcore.
Who writes your songs? Martin: The songs generally come from parts of songs Jon or myself already have in the works. It seems that most the time, if I write a song, I write it all and same for Jon Until recently we have been working a bit more of group writing rather than independent.
What are the main themes/topics for most of your songs? Martin: Several songs main themes and topics for me stem from casualties suffered through the rotten hell life can be at times. But a few are quite the opposite for example "Here Tonight" was more on the opposite side of the spectrum, showing how at times what seemed to be the end could really just be a bump in the road when focused on and worked on.
Who are your major influences? Martin: My biggest influences are Tool and Alice In chains. Also worth noting, killswitch engage, A perfect circle, trivium, slipknot, all that remains, a day to remember, the used, sevendust, bullet for my Valentine, and Coheed and Cambria.
Where has your band all performed? More than Blood has performed in a ton of venues around the Midwest so far, and we’re looking to add more in the near future!
What is your favorite venue/s? Jon: My favorite venue (that is still around) would have to be The Waiting Room Lounge here in Omaha, NE. I’ve played there a lot and it just feels like home. That, and the sound quality is pretty tough to beat.
Do you have any upcoming shows? Jon: - We do have an upcoming show that we’re putting together called Monsters & Masks. It’s a Halloween event inspired by a song I wrote by the same name.
When and where are those shows at? Jon: The show runs from October 27th – October 28th at Wired Pub & Gril (formerly Shamrocks Pub & Grill). Tons of local and regional bands will be playing!
What is your favorite and least favorite part of performing/touring? Jon: My favorite part of performing is honestly just moving around. Rocking out on stage and interacting with people, getting them to get as hype or even more than I am? It's the best feeling in the world. My least favorite is performing on small stages or being backlined on a big stage and performing in a small space anyway. There's no room to mosh!
What is it about performing live that really does it for the band? Jon: I can't say I for sure know what "it" is when you say "what does it" for the band but I imagine you mean what makes it special? Or enjoyable? Being close knit with the people you share that experience with is what makes it all worthwhile. Melting faces with your brothers at your side, making music and putting out your message together; that's what does "it."
What are a few goals you have as a band? Jon: Goals as a band? Where do I begin? Touring, more endorsements and signing away our souls to the dark lord for one hell of a record deal, haha. Or something like that. We just wanna take this life by the reigns and this seems like the most enjoyable way to do just that. The idea of money, fame and success is nice and definitely a desire but, all good things come in due time.
What would you be doing if you weren’t playing music? Jon: If I wasn't playing music? I'd probably be pummeling someone's face in while in an Octagon or something. I was an MMA Fighter for 2 years with a promising future in the business so to speak and Bondeye knows I miss combat.
What has been your biggest challenge as a band? Dave: Coordinating schedules seems to be a recurring problem in any band I've been in.
Have you been able to overcome that challenge? If so, how? Dave: Eventually you find a way and do what it takes to get it scheduled if it's really something that is priority to you. Whether that means you wake up extra early before work or you play late and piss off the neighbors.
What do you think about the music scene in general with the Omaha area? Dave: The scene in Omaha somewhat seems like a popularity contest but ultimately if you have what it takes to really turn heads, you can break through that and gain respect as a musician.
What do you think about the Omaha area crowds/fans? Dave: The metalheads (term of endearment) in Omaha are some of the coolest and most respectful people, however sifting through the non-metalheads to find them and get to them can be challenging at times. One big thing that bugs me about the Omaha scene is that it seems once it's a certain time at night, everybody jumps ship early, leaving the headliner with half the crowd and scratching their heads and asking why.
What advice do you have for people who want to form their own bands? Jack: Make sure you find people you don't mind bring around, listen to one another and good communication.
What Band/song is getting the heaviest rotation for you on your off time? Tristan: Right now, Threat Signal – Trust In None. Martin showed me this band when we first started MTB, and now they’re coming out with a new album. I love their stuff!
What is your ultimate direction for you band? Tristan: Ultimately, we want to be able to play music for a living. It’s our passion, so I think we’d all agree that being able to support our families off of that would be pretty cool.
Are you seeking fame and fortune? Or is this more of a hobby? Tristan: More toward fame and fortune. Not to sound greedy, but we’d love for this to be our full-time job. It gets complicated with all of us having day jobs and families to take care of, but we work hard and play harder (when we’re able).
What are your rehearsals generally like? Tristan: Our rehearsals are pretty standard I think. We run through our set, work on covers and new songs, and have a good time. It gets a little crazy sometimes, but we love it.
Do you have a set time each week in which you practice or are rehearsals more spontaneous? Tristan: This is a loaded question. Most of the guys work second shift or strange hours, and we’ve got rotating days off as well. Right now, we do Fridays at midnight, but if you asked me in a couple weeks, I might be saying Tuesdays at 3PM. We try to get one in every week so that we can nail down new material.
What was your inspiration when you were writing the song Artificial Memory? Martin: I wrote the song when I had been trying to restore my hope in something that I told myself was great. Artificial Memory came to mind one day when I felt a lot of doubt on the topic. Started asking myself was it even great? Was it really how I remember It? Or did I just tell myself that. I felt maybe I had fabricated a memory to convince myself it was worth fighting for.
What is your favorite color? Jack: My favorite color is Orange.
What would you choose to be your last meal? Jack: Probably a large stuffed crust double pepperoni pizza.
What’s your favorite movie? Jack: Too many great movies out there to choose from.
Written by Karen Freeman • September 2017
I’ve seen my share of tribute and cover bands, but I had never seen anything quite like Get The Led Out (GTLO). Dubbed “The American Led Zeppelin”, this six-piece band performed Friday night at Ralston Arena to a nice sized crowd – many of whom remember the original sounds of Led Zeppelin. These guys did not disappoint, and if you closed your eyes at times, it was hard to believe this wasn’t the real deal.
As lead singer of GTLO, Paul Sinclair has a big job. He must carry the show, lead the way, engage the crowd and share his passion for those of us who loved Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones and John Bonham. I am thrilled to let you know, that he performs that duty in excellent fashion. It certainly helps that he surrounds himself with very talented musicians, who played and sang with equal fervor. The sound was tight, strong, and somewhat amazing.
There is nothing 'fake' about this band. They seem to encapsulate the pure essence of Zeppelin, and they do it with intensity and sincerity. In 2 1/2 hours, these boys from Philly give the concert-goer more than they could ask for and yet left them wanting even more. How beautiful that the discography of the original Led is so deep, that you know this band can go night after night and still not hit every tune in one performance. So - that means you need GTLO another shot the next time they come around. I assure you, it is well worth the time and money.
Written by Karen Freeman • September 2017
Written by Cydney Phelps
Saturday night at Stir was one for the books! With the the season coming to an end soon, it was as if we were at an end of Summer party. And boy am I paying for it today!
The night kicked off at 8 with DJ Kethro playing to the at capacity cove. While I, personally, am not huge into electronic music; it really was a great way to hype us up before the man himself took the stage. I also love the fact that Stir invited a local DJ to play to a sold out crowd. Kudos!
And then the time came. It was right about 9:00 and we were nearly shoulder to shoulder. The beer lines were long and I felt at home with the mostly Generation X and Y congregation. Out he came, of course with his signature hat. Opening up with Devil’s Haircut from the 1996 album Odelay got us all bobbing our heads with so much anticipation for the rest of his set. You couldn’t help but move. I have to be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect before show time. I was pleasantly surprised and thoroughly entertained. I had heard multiple times that Beck was great in concert and, my friends, I can now attest. Even when it came to his slower hits, the energy was still high.
Bek David Campbell, known mononymously as Beck has been at it for 30 years. He found fame in the early 1990’s and has since released 12 studio albums with one more on its way. He and his band refuse to be tied down to a specific genre and I believe that’s one reason why you can find Beck fans anywhere you go. Call them funk, folk, soul, alternative, they are all encompassing. I hope they continue on their musical journey for another 30 years!
As always, the folks at Stir Cove really know how to put on a magnificent show. The lines move quickly and the staff is always smiling. I’ll be sad to see this season end, it’s been one of the greats. But I will keep on coming back and hope to see you there!
See photos here: http://nightlifeco.com/omaha/gallery/crowd-images-from-beck
Written by Gerald Glaza • September 2017
Review by David Taylor
Spotlight Omaha were courteously invited to this special taping of Old Market Acoustics, which is a new talk show that showcases local artistic talent, whether it may be musical or artistic. They have been posting the episodes through YouTube. I was quite interested what I would get out of this show.
With the title of the show being Old Market Acoustics, you would think The Clincher would be playing an all acoustic set. Then, I walk into the studio, and I see amps, electric guitars, and a drum kit, so this must have been an exception to the name of the show. The opened the show playing one of their songs. It looked really professional, with a handful of cameramen and a sound engineer.
After they performed, they moved on with the interview portion of the show, which was moderated by the host, Christopher John. He asked questions such as the meaning behind the band name, what their lyrics mean, how they formed, and what was the audition process was like for the new members. What I did get out of this was they liked to have so fun with this, so during the interview portion, the band was handed cards numbering how does one become metal, with John fixing his appearance to become metal, which included him taking off his suit and donning a Motley Crue t-shirt, a wig, and a trucker’s hat, truly becoming the embodiment of metal.
After a set change, they played game where they shot color-coded water guns with a mystery liquid in them, with them trying to guess what was in the liquid, with John telling them what was actually in them. The liquids included were Coca-Cola, Pepsi, soy sauce, hot dog water, and church wine. It really showed the band’s chemistry with each other, giving it a fun perspective.
Right after that, they play a handful of songs, with the crowd standing up, kinda reminiscent of a hardcore show, but more controlled. Lori Piper’s voice was amazing, with a perfect blend of heavy and clean vocals. Matt McClure and Lorenzo DeCoco are awesome additions to the band, with Matt shredding and Lorenzo killing it on the rhythms. Tif Philly and Benjamin Kadaffi make a killer rhythm section.
It was a one of kind show that I highly recommend to check it out. The Clincher was have a new album by next year. We’ll keep you updated when the episode gets released. I am glad The Clincher got to do this to help market their brand and highly encourage other local bands to hop on board and come on this show, as well.
Photo above courtesy of: Old Market Acoustics