Midway through M34n Str33t’s set in the heart of downtown North Platte, emcee Conchance succinctly summed up one of the major Good Living Tour themes: “Just because it’s a genre you’re not into doesn’t mean it can’t speak to you.”
The crowd was thinning as the evening withered, and though it was a weeknight, it’s fair to say the Omaha trio was, sonically, one of the most challenging of the tour. The prior acts — Lincoln funk band A Ferocious Jungle Cat and Omaha’s Brad Hoshaw and the Seven Deadlies — are fairly accessible. So the shock of Conchance’s aggressive delivery crossed with classic sampling from Haunted Gauntlet and scratching from DJ Really Real might have hit hard.
But a significant contingent of the once 150-plus crowd stayed and bopped along with Conchance as he climbed down onto the bricks below the stage. He gave impassioned thoughts on human connection and the problems we share, regardless of background. It’s safe to assume that M34n Str33t scored some new followers.
photos of M34n Str33t by Nickolai Hammar
More thoughts from last night in North Platte:
– The local father-son duo of Al and Brandon Raby led off the evening. Brandon, an avid gypsy jazz guitarist, stepped into a supporting role as his father crooned a set of mellow folk and country tunes.
photo of the Rabys by Chris Dinan
– This show was the second that Brad Hoshaw and the Seven Deadlies had played in North Platte in the last month (in fact, we crossed paths with the band at Taps and Tunes in June). There was a definite sense a familiarity, even with much of the crowd situated back from the stage. Especially striking was Matt Whipkey ripping off dramatic guitar solos, preening for no one in particular. He seems extremely comfortable in that role and it showed last night.
photos of Brad Hoshaw and the Seven Deadlies by Chris Dinan
– Predictably, A Ferocious Jungle Cat drew the densest crowd of dancers. The closing number, a racing, horn-heavy mashup of “Tainted Love” and “No Diggity,” sent kids and adults alike spinning and twirling in front of the stage.
photos of A Ferocious Jungle Cat by Chris Dinan
– Finally, kudos to the aforementioned crowd of 150-plus for coming down and for the warm reception. I’ve been at the merch table each night, and the response is consistently positive. The common theme: Stuff like this just doesn’t happen around here that often. We’re looking forward to more of it.
— Andrew Stellmon
photo by Nickolai Hammar
* * *
Last night, Lincoln’s Jazzocracy played at Tower Square for the third installment of the inaugural Tower Jazz series. The free, all-ages outdoor has run every Tuesday evening this month, and has featured mainly classical jazz. As the sun sank, our Peter Barnes was on the beat to capture the performance.
photos by Peter Barnes
If you haven’t been out for Tower Jazz yet, the final concert is Tuesday, July 28. Thirty-year jazz saxophonist Ed Archibald will perform at 7 p.m. For more information, check out the Downtown Lincoln Association website here.
* * *
Elsewhere, frequent HN contributor James Dean was at Duffy’s Tavern to catch Dad’s Beer Night performances from The Dancing Dead and Pure Brown:
The Dancing Dead
* * *
This past Sunday, HN contributor and film buff Andrew Samson attend the Film Streams feature showing of Elliott Smith documentary Heaven Adores You. He wrote a few words in review:
“On Sunday, July 19, Film Streams screened Heaven Adores You, a documentary on the late Elliott Smith and the second entry into the “Sights on Sounds Summer 2015” series. Smith — born in Omaha, but raised primarily in Dallas and Portland — has a certain mythos around him as the brilliant, depressed indie rock icon who stabbed himself in the heart to end his life in 2003. The documentary is not loud or boisterous. The film comes on like one of Smith’s quiet, acoustic-driven songs: slow and intimate.
Nickolas Dylan Rossi’s documentary seemingly has two objectives it wants to achieve for its viewers. First, Rossi (and his interviewees) want to erase the myth of Smith as the depressed, frowning, suicidal rock star and to replace it with a normal young man who showed incredible shades of brilliance. Speaking with family, friends and fellow musicians, everyone seems to be in agreement that Smith wasn’t a depressed person until the tail end of his life.
Secondly, the film acts as a tribute or an introduction, depending on the viewer. The film works simultaneously by giving background into Smith’s life, which could either be observed as an inside look at a musician you know, or an introduction to the musician that you don’t. Going through Smith’s adolescent and college years rather quickly, the film slows down when it begins to discuss his first commercially-successful band, the Portland-based Heatmiser. Digging deeper into his musical ventures in Portland, New York, and Los Angeles, the majority of the film focuses on Elliott’s transition from bandmate to individual artist. Using Heatmiser and later Smith’s albums to create a timeline, the film moves at a brisk pace, never dragging on one specific area.
Where the film really succeeds, though, is in discussing Smith’s decline in the later part of his career, after his successes with the Good Will Hunting soundtrack (and subsequent Oscar nomination for Best Song) and his signing with DreamWorks. A large part of Rossi’s and his interviewees’ goal with the documentary is to show the man behind the myth, the musician before his madness. The documentary achieves this goal by touching on his depression for what feels like only a brief time at the beginning and end of the film. After completing his final album, From a Basement on a Hill, in 2004, Smith was found dead in Los Angeles at the age of 34.
Using this as the beginning and ending point of the film, viewers are aware of what is coming; however, Smith’s death is more of a reason to celebrate his accomplishments, rather than mourn what might have been.
As the credits roll, with musicians from around the world celebrating Smith’s music, viewers can see the large impact he had not only in the Northwest, but globally.”
— Andrew Samson
This Sunday, Film Streams will screen Don’t Think I’ve Forgotten: Cambodia’s Lost Rock and Roll, which tells the wild and tragic story of Cambodia’s vibrant rock scene, violently suppressed by the genocidal Khmer Rouge party.
* * *
Tonight, Nashville singer/songwriter Natalie Prass comes to Vega to play with In Tall Buildings and Son, Ambulance. Prass has received much critical praise in the wake of her self-titled debut album, which dropped Jan. 27 on Spacebomb and Columbia Records. Upon its release, Pitchfork deemed the LP Best New Music. Prass also spent much of last year touring with Jenny Lewis as a keyboard player in her backing band. RSVP here.
For a fuller listing of shows, check out our statewide events calendar at hearnebraska.org/news. As always, feel free to email us at email@example.com with story ideas, news tips or upcoming shows.