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Fizzle Like a Flood at The Junction, Mark Eitzel at The Sokol Underground

May 23, 2002


A 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.

back torevhead.gif (1924 bytes)   Posted May 27, 2002. Copyright 2002 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.