words by Kekeli Dawes | photos by Randy Edwards and JP Davis (above)
“Sit the fuck down! I need everyone to sit the fuck down!”
With outstretched arms, Trash Talk’s Lee Spielman beckoned the crowd surrounding him. Like the multitudes on the Galilee, they sat beneath his outstretched arms.
“This is the part of the show where we take the time to smoke some weed.”
Spielman steps offstage and slowly scans the room, nodding his head. He locks eyes with anyone one in the crowd he sees. Just moments ago, they were hurtling fists and feet, but now are seated, feet crossed on the floor of Omaha’s Midtown Art Supply.
photo by JP Davis
To the music, all necks thrashed in unison to the thick and steady guitar of Garrett Stevenson, towering over the lip of the stage, guitar slack, arm strumming downward with force.
Trash Talk’s G Pen Free Tour with Left Brain made its stop in Omaha Monday night. The hardcore punk band known for demolishing Odd Future after-parties set off on the 17-stop tour to promote their new album, No Peace, released this past May on Odd Future Records.
The crowd didn’t need an opener to give them a reason to wild out. All the same, Nebraska punk outfit Powerslop took a hyped crowd and pumped them higher with their deep, chest-rumbling punk sprints that ripped through the Midtown Art Supply like a nasty bull in a china shop.
Attendees were airborne midway through the opening slot. The sun hadn’t even set.
photo by JP Davis
The locale for the free show was announced a few days to the show, and a line began stretching outside the Midtown Art Supply a good five hours before Powerslop took the stage at 9.
At some point after their set, the crowd that didn’t quite fill up the venue’s deep room — that looked like a converted, small retail storefront — slowly dwindled. Many retreated outside to the cool air, and apparently some never returned.
But those who stayed when the stage was handed over to Left Brain (of Odd Future fame) danced and moshed to Chief Keef, Project Pat and Young Thug as the OF producer DJ’d from his iPad mini.
Powerslop and Trash Talk’s sets both followed a good 30 minutes of strictly trap music, to which the crowd naturally took, as they did to the guitar punk headlining the night. One dude crowd-surfed to “Drop That Nae Nae.”
In a break in Trash Talk’s set, Spielman made sure to say the two should share the stage. “I heard some guy that went outside saying, ‘I came here to hear punk music and they keep playing all that rap.’” To which Spielman shouted, “It’s a free show man!” The crowd roared.
photo by Randy Edwards
That was why Trash Talk and company set off on this free nation wide tour — to get, as Spielman put it, all kinds of people together who love this music, and care about supporting good music.
“We’re doing this for all of you who came when this was three dollars, five dollars, twenty, even forty dollars and you guys would still turn out. We’re doing this for you.”
Attending fans of Trash Talk appeared familiar the Odd Future crew, as well, many of whom were dressed in the label’s merchandise. They lost their minds and eight of their fingers when Left Brain finally let loose on a familiar MellowHype signature, “Fuck The Police,” at the tail end of his often awkward iPad DJ set. At the very end, Left Brain may have overstayed his slot by the time he spun Loose End’s “Hangin’ On A String,” the only track too foreign to most attending.
photos by Randy Edwards
But that was one sporadic lull in what was to be rough-edged night. Trash Talk tore out in full stride, kicking off with 2007’s “Walking Disease,” and dropping this spring’s “The Hole” for just the second time live.
Trash Talk had the power and pacing of a seasoned, road-hardened punk band, who turned from blazing punk raids that crushed ears and splattered on the Midtown Art Supply’s walls (on which Spielman spray painted “NO PEACE” during the set), to drudging, grungy metal breakdowns so massive and heavy they had fans thrashing their bodies from the hip at right angles. They played as furiously as the flailing shirtless bodies. They landed as sure as a flying fist to the jaw, which —that night — many caught.
Omaha remained valiant to the end, leaving behind a white linoleum floor slick with muddy boot prints in spilled water, beer and sweat.