review by Jay NeSmith | illustration by Lance Heybrock
It all started with pancakes, and a lot of them. As Maggie Weber stood over the stove at Middle House on the morning of Saturday, Sept. 8, a list of 16 bands was lined up for the third annual Nebraska Hardcore Showcase. Anyone going to this show would need as much energy as they could eat.
For most, this came in the form of Oreo pancakes washed down by a healthy amount of High Life, aka the breakfast of champions. Everyone seemed to be in good spirits, enjoying the beautiful morning weather accompanied by the sounds of the Descendants and Black Flag coming from a nearby boombox.
I hadn’t been to The Commons since it was known as the Mosaic, and I was glad to see that it hadn’t changed one bit. Switching out the musty, sweat-stained basement of the West Wing for the day proved to be a good idea, as tons of people showed up over the course of the event. The Commons is big enough to hold more people than a typical house show, but it maintains all of the DIY ethic and charm that this scene prides itself on. The clothing drive seemed to be a success, and the free price tag on the show was a nice touch, though I have a feeling most of the people would have attended regardless.
The 13th Year opened up the show, putting on a great show and setting the tone for the rest of the day. Each band played a 15-minute set, which allowed every act to have just enough time for the crowd the get the gist of their sound. Band after band tore it up, displaying tons of raw, hardcore energy in the process. Among the highlights of the night were Feral Hands, Discourse, Feedergainer, Purgatory and Powerslop, though each and every band managed to play equally energetic and noteworthy sets. Powerslop, formed from the remains of the now defunct band Hercules, proved to be a crowd favorite of the night, even playing a few Hercules songs. There was apparently an aftershow at the Middle House, but I was far too exhausted from the day’s festivities (and getting kicked in the face) to attend.
What struck me most of all wasn’t just the solid bands, but the real sense of family and unity that surrounded the event. It wasn’t just a show, it was a celebration of the underground scene in Omaha that has existed for many years. You can tell that this part of the music scene is incredibly close and connected as a result of years of friendship and music loving. It is easily one of the most devoted fanbases that I have ever seen.
“It’s not about the rock stardom or any of that bullshit,” says Jay Bacon, the singer from Cordial Spew, “The music might have changed a little bit from when I was growing up, but the real heart of DIY lies in the people that make this music, and the people that keep coming out to the garages and basements to watch.”