REVIEW: ‘Living In Stereo’ by Carson City Heat; Photo coverage: Conor Oberst at 40th St Theater, Vega’s Third Anniversary; Live review: Herbert’s Rainbow, Sweats at Duffy’s Tavern

REVIEW: ‘Living In Stereo’ by Carson City Heat

Review by Rebecca Lowry

There was a time in music history when soul music took a left turn to become disco, which then forked into two wildly different musical journeys. The first tine became hip hop, but the other lead to Top 40 pop music in the early 80s. While it was admittedly an awkward developmental stage in American music history, it was also the transition that can be credited with bringing the likes of a young Michael Jackson or Stevie Wonder into superstardom as a full-fledged adults.

It is this specific passing of time in music history that alludes to what can be expected from Carson City Heat’s new album Living In Stereo. While no one would accuse the album or its sound of being awkward, for those familiar with CCH’s live show, it can be inferred that they’ve replaced their usual powder blue suit coats, à la The Temptations, with Members Only Jackets.

The Carson City Heat sound is a wonder. Dummer Nic Woods holds it down while Dave Keim (The Subvectors) lays it on thick with some James Jamerson, Motown showdown bass lines. Guitarist Rob Rutar (Surfer Rosa) weaves between slick hard rock riffs and gentler sounds, reminiscent of Doo Wop, 80s Pop and Disco. The primary songwriting duties of CCH are shared between pop punk vocalists David Utterback (Miles On End) and Chris Crutcher (8th Wave), each taking on their own lyrics and melodies. The result ends up sounding something like Fall Out Boy covering MJ’s Off the Wall.

“Dance Dance” kicks the album off with an energetic beckoning to the dance floor, featuring a wailing sax solo from Mike Corring that would excite any fan of Hall and Oates’ “Maneater.” From there, each song explores themes of love and love lost, but never fails to groove. Omaha R&B singer and CCH favorite Peedi Rothsteen makes an appearance on “Back to Me,” a song that borrows heavily from The Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back.” Tara Vaughan and Cori Garrett show up on “Rock n Soul,” an ode to the band’s genre bending and love of all things Motown and Stax.

The album is a Wayfarer-wearing throwback to a lot of little dots along the American music timeline. This collection of those dots is wholly Carson City Heat, and what makes the band such a draw. It’s music to dance to, to party to, to rock while driving your DeLorean 88 mph into another time altogether.

Carson City Heat plays a release show tonight at The Waiting Room with Rothsteen, State Disco and Tara Vaughan. 9 p.m., all-ages, $10 cover. RSVP here.

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Photo coverage: Conor Oberst plays 40th St Theater

HN intern Lauren Farris caught Conor Oberst’s hometown stop at historic 40th St Theater last night. He was joined onstage by current touring partner Miwi La Lupa, who accompanied on bass as the two drew heavily from Oberst’s new album Ruminations. Omaha-based singer/songwriting duo Harford/Focht opened the sold-out show at the newly renovated theater. 

See Farris’ photos below:

Conor Oberst

Hartford/Focht

photos by Lauren Farris

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Photo coverage: Vega’s third anniversary celebration

HN intern Connor Lepert went to Vega last night as the Railyard venue celebrated its third anniversary. Owner Eli Mardock revived his old indie rock project Eagle Seagull to open the show, it’s first since a turn at O’Leaver’s last October and first in Lincoln in six years. Josh Hoyer & Soul Colossal and Evan Bartels kept the party going afterward, while comedian Brad Stewart opened the show

See Lepert’s photos below:

Eagle Seagull

Evan Bartels & the Stoney Lonesomes

Josh Hoyer & Soul Colossal

Photos by Connor Lepert

[Editor’s note: This caps Lepert’s four-day coverage run which also included The Faint, Har Mar Superstar and Ben Folds. Nice hustle.]

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Herbert’s Rainbow, Sweats at Duffy’s Tavern

Review by Jhalisa Robinson

Herbert’s Rainbow and Sweats played their hearts out for a crowd of Thursday partiers at Duffy’s Tavern. Herbert’s Rainbow is a newer trio to the Lincoln music scene, and they most certainly didn’t disappoint.

Marc Mason, Hebert’s Rainbow’s lead vocalist and bassist, had a wolf-like voice that gave the band a sound that embodies fun, silliness and funky vibes. For those that are familiar with A Furious Jungle Cat, this band’s sound is in the same ballpark of having a funky, rock and roll feel. Mason and guitarist Eric Jackson were dancing and making goofy faces at each other on stage. Mid-set, Jackson effortlessly let his guitar swing down his neck as he bent over for a second,and put his entire body into his playing.

Sweats performed almost immediately after Herbert’s Rainbow, and were everything but subtle. The rock band consists of the three guitarists and one drummer. Lead vocalist and bassist Justin Kohmetscher sang and screamed into the microphone as he strummed playing “Road Canyon.” They had great transitions into each song with extended drumming, creating a suspenseful energy to their music.

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HN just added more than 100 new events to the statewide calendar, including a boatload happening this weekend. Find them all here. If you do not see your show or one you plan to attend, email us via news@hearnebraska.org or add them yourself using our “Contribute” feature here.

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Andrew Stellmon is Hear Nebraska's managing editor. Reach him with news tips and story ideas at news@hearnebraska.org.