6.20.13 The Dad/ Solid Attitude/Parquet Courts at the Sweatshop

In December of 2012 these three bands played to a packed house at the Sweatshop. This show wasn’t quite as packed as the December one, but still people showed up to see a repeat what had been called “the best show of 2012” in summer of 2013.

The Sweatshop is an art gallery in Benson, in Omaha, NE. They often have wild rock shows and other events such as bull riding and mud wrestling. The venue has a main room connected to a garage, with a beautiful geometric black and white painting as backdrop for the bands. The lower room has art hanging on the walls-at this show there was a drawing of Gucci Mane imploring the viewer: "Do acid with me." 

My brother, Jack (Boogs), plays keyboard and guitar in the Dad. He booked this show, and he is good friends with both Parquet Courts and Solid Attitude.

I came not only to support my brother and see the newly huge Parquet Courts but also to meet and observe Solid Attitude for my project. I had seen Solid Attitude once before, in San Francisco with my brother. They played to a less-than packed grimy bar with CCR Headcleaner. At the time, I had no idea that Solid Attitude would become a part of my senior thesis project. I was attracted to their energetic performance and no-fuss music. I think I was also into the novelty of seeing an Iowa City band in glamorous California.

At this show, armed with some ideas about my thesis and some background research I did on Solid Attitude, I was ready to notice everything about Solid Attitude’s performing mannerisms. Of course, I got sucked into the music and the crowd and had a hard time keeping my distance to take photographs.

Mickey Shaw, the singer of Solid Attitude, is the most energetic and enigmatic performer I have ever seen. His feet were constantly in motion. They turned in and out as if he were performing a soft-shoe routine on the beer-covered floor. He rocked back and forth, pitching forward and bending over. At times it looked as if he were going to swallow the microphone. He sang with an urgency that can be heard on the record, but the live experience is a whole new degree of intensity. Between verses, as the band played on, Mickey looked at the crowd bewildered and gasping for air-like a fish out of water. He stared down those of us in the front row with a kind of curiosity-as if he were surprised that we were all there to see him.

Walker Neudorff, the drummer, stood up shirtless behind his kit consisting of a floor tom, snare, and crash. He drums with the intensity of a jackhammer. As he got sweatier and sweatier, I understood why he took off his shirt before the show even began. Walker knew how wild this show would get and planned accordingly. He kept the band at a frantic pace with his wild yet tight drumming. 

Brendan Wells, on the bass, and Matt Fenner, on guitar, took up the melodic brunt of the band's music. In an interview after the show, Matt said that he appreciated that Mickey was such a crazy performer so the audience focused on Mickey's antics instead of on his guitar playing. They are both understated performers, but the music they play clearly requires some concentration. Brendan slings heavy, fuzz bass lines and Matt  hits some cleaner high riffs that work with the rest of the noisy music in a nice juxtaposition.

Maybe I'm biased since I am putting so much work into understanding Solid Attitude's music and performance, but I thought they were the best band of the night. They put on a tight, well-rehearsed show that was exciting and engaging. Everyone in the audience was rapt with attention and thrashed around to the music. Despite the heat (there was sweat dripping down my legs), I think that everyone really enjoyed the show. The Sweatshop is an art gallery and lets in all-ages. Many people there were from the Omaha punk scene-familiar faces-but there were also some nighttime wanderers of Benson who came in just for the $10-a-cup unlimited beer. 

Notes from Iowa City to come next, as well as post facto notes on Places We Slept interview and Omaha show.
Up next is NYC.