Sokol Underground, Omaha
"Whoever heard of a band with seven
songs headlining? Oh well, it's all good."
And it was last Friday night for the 170 who braved the teen-laden
crowds outside the Sokol Underground where Blair Shehan and his band, The
Jealous Sound, topped a bill that also included The Gloria Record and The
Yes, there were a lot of teens at the Underground show, but most of
them were upstairs at the Sokol Auditorium where O-Town was doing their
usual choreographed song and dance routine. The parking lot adjacent to
the hall was crammed with (by my count) three huge, gleaming rock-and-roll
tour buses suitable for the likes of The Rolling Stones or U2. Meanwhile
sandwiched on the sidewalk was one of the Underground band's badly soiled,
rusty conversion vans, suitable for the likes of a homeless family or
'70s-era drug dealer.
I arrived late, just in time to see the parade of minivans and Taurus
wagons bumper-to-bumper picking up the kids after the O-Town show as if
the 3 o'clock bell just rang outside of your neighborhood junior high. For
the uninitiated, O-Town is a television-created boy-group that's on a
national tour supporting their sassy new nationally embraced CD.
Meanwhile, in the basement of the Sokol Auditorium, a veritable feast
of indie rock was in full bloom. I missed the And/Ors' set, but was in
time for The Gloria Record only to find out that the band's drummer, Brian
Malone, has been called home due to a death in the family. The rest of the
band soldiered on, performing a set of what sounded like new material,
most of it long-form ethereal acoustic ballads with singer Chris Simpson's
cracking voice trying to carry the day. The performance was low-key,
perhaps too much so. The band ended its set with a rendition of Pink
Floyd's "Wish You Were Here," that seemed appropriate for the
overall downbeat feel of the performance.
Then came the Jealous Sound, with its blinding, pounding yet
infectiously catchy rock. The four-piece, headed by ex-Knapsack frontman
Shehan -- bald as a cueball and twice as ghoulish looking as Billy Corgan
-- pulled out all the stops playing track off its recently released Better
Looking Records self-titled EP.
Shehan apologized for the band's headline status throughout the set,
mainly because the band only knows a handful of songs -- a tactic that
pretty much telegraphed that he wasn't interested in playing any old
Knapsack favorites. The crowd -- consisting of hip indie kids in their
late teens and early 20s -- didnít care as they crowded around the front
of the Underground stage. The band was in fine form, possibly because the
Sokol date was last stop on the Holiday Matinee Tour that featured The
Jealous Sound, The And/Ors and Death Cab for Cutie, who skipped the
proceedings only to play the Sokol Underground Sunday, March 18.