Like a Flood at The Junction, Mark Eitzel at The Sokol Underground
May 23, 2002
grand night for indie music, but when you've got two solid shows
going on at the same time at two different venues, someone's gonna
lose. In this case, it was John Vanderslice and Matt Whipkey, but
we'll go into that later.
The evening began with
a very brief set by Fizzle Like a Flood, a.k.a. Doug Kabourek, who
opened for Vanderslice at The Junction Thursday night. But waitaminit
-- instead of Doug's usual one-man show, the boy wonder was joined
by his bandmate from The Movies, bassist Bob Carrig, accompanying
him on a small drum set, and Jesse Otto from Shelterbelt on keyboards.
The result, despite being surrounded by falling ceiling tile, dirty
plastic drip cloths and bad stage lighting, was the best Fizzle
set I've ever heard. Kabourek, seated throughout with a guitar on
his knee and looking a little like a young, dishoveled version of
Richard Belzer from Homicide Life on the Street, played a
few songs from his last full length, Golden Sand and the Grandstand,
all for the first time nicely rounded out by the songs' wonky keyboard
parts. And oh what a difference the drums made to filling out his
live sound. Is this the beginning of a permanent backing band?
Kabourek's music is sort
of a mix between Pet Sounds-era Beach Boys, Ben Folds Five
and the Flaming Lips, a comparison that he would proudly beam at.
His 30-minute set was capped off with two new songs from his upcoming
Side 1 Records release -- one tentatively called "Man Factory,"
and a closer that talks about ice cream laced with Oreo cookies.
Nice rocking stuff in a kindercore kind of way. Kabourek has already
established himself as one of the city's more important song writers.
If these new songs and this new combo are any indication of where
Doug Flood is headed, look for a new voice busting through the static
noise of the crowded Omaha scene.
John Vanderslice was
up next, unfortunately I was off to the Sokol Underground to catch
singer/songwriter and former American Music Club frontman Mark Eitzel
do a solo acoustic set. I arrived just after another Kabourek bandmate
in The Movies, Matt Whipkey, had finished his opening set, but in
time to catch the last few songs by co-Eitzel-tour-traveler Tim
Easton do some nice folkie stuff with great guitar.
But it was Eitzel that
the crowd of 100 or so came to see.
On tour supporting a
full-length CD of cover songs, Music for Courage & Confidence,
Eitzel had said in an interview a week earlier that he planned on
playing a number of covers from the album laced with some old favorites.
But instead, after doing a rather lackadaisical cover of Anne Murray's
"Snowbird," Eitzel preceded to play about an hour's worth
of his own solo stuff as well as a number of AMC songs, few of which
I recognized (I'm not exactly a fan).
Eitzel looked like a
cross between Dave Attell from Comedy Central's Insomniac
and Judas Priest's Rob Halford. He was in particularly strong voice,
just him and his guitar, and if you're a fan, you had to be pleased.
Three times he stopped mid-song and offered explanations of what
he was singing about, sometimes sounding like he had lost his train
of thought or was nervous, but always getting a good laugh out of
it, saying stuff like, "This is the part where I I ask the
crowd to sing along." Or "I'm really trying to make a
point here." Blinded under the Sokol's blaring flood-light,
he asked "Has everyone left?" When someone yelled "No,"
he replied, "Well maybe you should." Big laughs.
After saying goodnight
and leaving the stage, Eitzel returned and played for about 20 minutes
more. Between songs, the crowd yelled out requests, to which he
responded, "No, no, no. I don't know that one," adding
jokingly, "I am an artist and I'll decide what I play."
After someone yelled, "Play a Ryan Adams song," he said,
"I like Ryan Adams, actually," then preceded to play one
of his songs, throwing in the name "Ryan Adams" throughout.
He ended his hour-long
set with the only other cover of the night, Kris Kristofferson's
"Help Me Make It Through the Night." With Easton accompanying
on guitar, Eitzel sold the song for all it was worth, complete with
Al Jolson-esque hand gestures which he said "were all choreographed
before the show." When he came to the last line of the song,
he paused, hoping the crowd would sing it. When they didn't, he
said "Fuck you, goodnight." And the crowd roared.
Posted May 27, 2002. Copyright © 2002 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.