Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Sebadoh / See Through Dresses 9/28/14 @ Reverb Lounge

Despite being dead tired from my Arizona/Replacements experience, I hit up the brand new Reverb Lounge to catch the official opening show night. The club got a pretty impressive band for its opening -- indie rock legends, Sebadoh. Despite having a close connection to the new venue, I had not seen the space since it had been demoed a few months ago. I didn't see the progress of the construction. Now that it's finished, it looks amazing.

There are separate rooms for the bar and for the performances. This is great if you want to see only one of the bands, or want a break from the volume. The bar room is upscale, hipster. It looks really nice. Lots of vintage guitars hanging on the walls, and a comfortable environment. There is a high probability of overcrowding, however, if people come to the bar who aren't actually there to see a show. This is probably not a concern for Reverb since more people = more money. But, being a little claustrophobic, I worry about those things.

The show room is small intimate by design. It's purpose is to host shows that are too small for the nearby Waiting Room. The room is sleek and modern, with tall, grey walls and a high ceiling. Framed photos are hung around the room at about eye level, but that is the only decoration, at this point. The stage is adorned with a tall curtain only. The room has a feel of a practice space or rehearsal studio. It almost feels like you are a voyeur secretly spying on a band's private practice time.

Overcrowding could be a problem, but as of now, the club is limiting tickets to 115 or so per show. At the peak point of Sunday night's sold out show, when the crowd was at its largest, I could still move around the room with relative ease. Hopefully, it will remain that way. There were a few sound issues, but that is to be expected with a brand new space. I am sure they will be worked out in short order. I'd also like to see some more decoration or artwork on the walls. It's a little too grey at this point. Again, I am sure this will be addressed shortly.
Omaha band See Through Dresses opened the show
Omaha's own, See Through Dresses, opened the show. They were great, as usual, and their 90s influenced sound was a perfect compliment to Sebadoh. STD's set was too brief, in my opinion, but openers typically don't do sets of epic proportions. (Editor's note: Check out See Through Dresses on the Dark Stuff Podcast here)
Sebadoh's Lou Barlow singing "License To Confuse"
After a brief break, Sebadoh hit the stage, and immediately there were problems. Lou Barlow complained that his vocals were not loud enough (they weren't), and that he couldn't hear himself on stage. After struggling through a second song, Barlow took off his guitar, said goodbye, and walked off the stage. The crowd was stunned, and so were Barlow's band mates. He returned in less than 30 seconds, however, and resumed playing. After another song or two, the sound issue was fixed, and the crowd showed its appreciation.
Sebadoh's set drew heavily from the band's celebrated album, Bakesale, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. Non-Bakesale classics like "The Freed Pig" were also played, alongside cuts from the band's most recent album, Defend Yourself.
Jason Lowenstein takes a turn at the mic
Barlow and Jason Lowenstein each had their own mini-sets where they handled lead vocals. They would alternate every 5-6 songs or so. Overall, Sebadoh performed for over 2 hours. The crowd of dedicated fans seemed to love every minute of it. Later in the set, Lou Barlow apologized for his earlier behavior, and said that sound issues are common in a new venue, and he was certain Reverb would be a fantastic place.
The mighty Sebadoh
Before Sebadoh actually ended, I popped over to the nearby Waiting Room to see The Dandy Warhols. When I walked in, I was shocked by the mellowness of both the band and the crowd. I was told that Dandy's lead singer, Courtney Taylor Taylor, had all but blown out his voice and had trouble singing a lot of the band's older songs. To compensate, the band played only its slower material, as well as songs that were more suited to Taylor's new, limited range. Though the crowd seemed to be enjoying the show, I found it sort of sad and depressing. I only stayed for about 10 minutes.

Overall, it was a great night, and a great way to open a new venue. I'm certain that I'll be writing a number of reviews of shows from Reverb over the next few months and years.

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