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Thursday, September 22, 2005

Column 43: FNB Omaha music comp; Tonight: Atmosphere vs. Waking Ashland Vs. Sonata Form

Despite what you may think about First National Bank's compilation CD, the effort should be applauded -- at least the bank's trying to acknowledge the good things going on in our city musicwise. FNB's Sporhase wouldn't give me details (dates, times) about the on-campus events mentioned at the end of the column, but if I catch wind I'll pass on the info. He said the colleges were concerned about non-student attendance, which of course is completely untrue at least as far as UNO is concerned. My alma mater does just about everything it can to attract non-students to campus in hopes that they can also lure them into the Registrar's office. Creighton, on the other hand, is a different story.

Column 43 -- The First National Bank of Rock 'n' Roll
Comp CD (tries) to reflect local scene.

Looks like the bank is getting into the rock 'n' roll business.

When I say "the bank" I'm obviously talking about First National Bank, because let's be honest, FNB dominates the financial landscape 'round these parts, thanks in part to aggressively sponsoring community-based cultural events. So leave it to the great grey institution to have the wild idea of putting together a compilation CD that attempts to capture our nationally recognized Omaha music scene.

FNB Second Vice President Clint Sporhase, 33, said the bank's involvement in, the compilation in question, isn't really any different than their support of other cultural events like the symphony or opera. Says Sporhase, "What a great way to do something that supports a segment of the arts in Omaha that also reaches out to that younger, twentysomething demographic."

Ah, those twentysomethings -- a demographic that historically has viewed white-collared stuffed-shirted institutions like the bank as "The Man." You want them to let down their guard? Better start speaking the language. Hence, the CD. Sporhase, however, is the first to admit that pop music is a language that he and most of The Suits in the white tower downtown don't understand.

That's where Homer's comes in. Sporhase says the record store was the first place that came to mind when guys in the board room were kicking around the idea. A phone call was made to Homer's president Mike Fratt, who called his Saddle Creek store manager Marq Manner. Not surprisingly, both were happy to lend a hand.

To their credit, the duo didn't do a "call for entries" and openly solicit bands to contribute. Instead, they relied on their own knowledge and taste to come up with the track listing. "We didn't want any one type of music," Fratt said. "My objective was to make a compilation that represents the best of what's going on in Omaha."

The 13-track end product certainly tries, but hardly represents the entire scene. How could it? Look, if you've ever put together a comp CD you know that no one is going to like everything on it. The same holds true with

FNB and Homer's get high marks for including some innovative acts, such as Little Brazil, Kyle Harvey, Le Beat and Ladyfinger. Fratt says more commercial bands like Eyes Catch Fire, Emphatic, Venaculas and Straight Outta Junior High got the nod in part because they're heard on 89.7 The River.

Like any good comp, there's a "discovery track" -- a pleasant surprise from a band you never heard before. From my standpoint, the honor goes to Civicminded, whose "Stoplight Traffic" is the bouncy alt-rock track that you've been waiting for. The CD is rounded out with songs by Anonymous American, Grasshopper Takeover, Sarah Benck and the Robbers, and Fratt's own Goodbye Sunday.

What's missing?

For starters, there's no hip-hop on Sporhase and Fratt both said that the two tracks they considered for the disc illegally used samples, which would have been too difficult to acquire rights to.

Next, it's hard to say any comp represents the Omaha scene that doesn't include at least one song by a Saddle Creek Records artist. Yeah, I know they've already received more than their share of visibility, but to most people locally and nationally, the Creek is the Omaha scene. Fratt said he didn't think there was any possibility that Saddle Creek would participate." He's probably right. We'll never know.

Finally, where are the Speed! Nebraska bands and the white-knuckle rockers like The Terminals, Bad Luck Charm, Race for Titles and The Philharmonic? "Some of the bands mentioned won't sell their product at Homer's," Fratt said. "We have to carry it if I'm going to hear it."

And some stuff didn't make the cut because it just plain sucks. Fratt knows there's going to be plenty of pissing and moaning from those left off the record. Where's the death metal? Where's the hardcore? Where's the Ukrainian string bands? At the end of the day, he's satisfied with the CD. So is Sporhase, who said "If the project is well-received -- if we feel good about what happens -- we would love this to be an annual project or a rite of passage for local artists."

About 7,000 copies of will be distributed for free in the next few weeks at UNO, Creighton and other local colleges. Students should keep an eye out for related on-campus events. Copies also are available at Homer's with the purchase of any participating band's CD.

One Percent Productions has its hands full tonight. Indie hip-hop wunderkind Atmosphere performs in Sokol's "big room" upstairs with Blueprint and P.O.S. One Percent points out that they're "one of the only promoters in town that attempts hip-hop show." They've been doing it for years, and have managed to grow a sizable following for indie hip-hop, as evidenced by moving this show to the auditorium. Tickets are $20, show starts at 8. Meanwhile, down in the underground, One Percent is hosting Waking Ashland, Jamison Parker and An Angle. I don't know diddly about the first two acts. An Angle is the notorious Bright Eyes imitation band, whose lead singer even sports Conor's famous quivering bray. Tsk. tsk. $8, 9 p.m. So where the hell are we all going to park?

Well, you could always park in Benson, where acoustic prog songsters Sonata Form a.k.a. Jeff Carlson (formerly of The Gladhands) will be performing at Mick's with singer/songwriter Richard Schultz, who will be joined at the end of his set by his band The Miracle Men. $3, 9 p.m.

--Got comments? Post 'em here.--


posted by Tim at 5:22 AM

Music Posts
This week's feature: Lincoln Calling; Live Review: Sufjan Stevens
Late Live Review: The Ointments, Pomonas, Fizzle/Flood; my chat with The BBC; Sufjan Stevens tonight
Live Review: FFA, Danny Pound, Arthur Dodge; weekend "happenings"...
Column 42: a grab-bag of old news, MavRadio ; Danny Pound (of Vitreous Humor) tonight
The Pomonas feature o' the week
Headlines; Aqualung tonight
Live Review: The Third Men / Ladyfinger
The Chicago Tribune; what's Joe Kobjerowski up to?; Third Men / Ladyfinger tonight and other weekend hi-jinx
Column 41 -- Have you seen the price of gas these days?; The Tremula, McCarthy Trenching tonight
Anonymous American interview; The Terminals tonight
Posts Before February 2005