BY DEAN BIRKHEIMER | Go Venue Magazine
A show of this magnitude could not be limited to just one stage, so the Slowdown took on the challenge and once again did an incredible job and continued to prove that it’s one of Omaha premiere music venues. Big shout out to John Hughes, Extra Fresh, Come Back Sandy and Rico Riconekt who all tore up the front stage between main room performances. They were all seam-less and kept the house jumping.
Hailing from Cedar Rapids IA, Zakk Buch a.k.a. Queezy and Tariq Ahmad, a.k.a. TdotA10 collectively known as Reggae Rapids kicked off the main room shows. The first thing I was able to tell was that these guys love being on stage and performing. They take you on a musical voyage in which your ears are treated to many different styles, all peppered amongst them-selves. In just one track you can hear hip-hop with an infusion of jazz. Great bass lines fill the air and their words are clean and refreshing. I especially enjoyed “Stay Lit” and “On The Rise” (a song they released earlier in the day). These guys tour their butts off, so go and see them soon as you can.
Up next was Ro Hemple. This would be an acoustic set for Ro. His music if full of goodness and encouragement. There was some really striking pedal work during his time on stage. He creates moods and although he is doing the typical singer/songwriter things by standing behind his mic, you can’t help but to watch him. He simply is compelling.
Funk Trek is stanky, but not in a bad way. It’s hard to believe there are only two horns in this band. They sound as full as Les Brown and his band of renown, and they are just as swingy. Before the first song ended, the entire room had moved down front, trying to find a place to dance and jump. Tom Murman on bass is not your typical stand in the corner and play quarter-notes bass player. He is a non-stop traveling machine. High-stepping, bouncing, jumping, kicking and bending without end. That’s not to say the other members are lacking. They are all exceptional musicians and during the Funk Trek set they were all individually featured. I can’t imagine a tighter band who absolutely know how to feed off each other. If you’re looking for a night where you can dance like nobody is watching, then find Funk Trek, they’re always out and about.
Up next was That 1 Guy. Not sure how describe him, other than it’s 1 guy playing with a computer, keyboard, record player and some magic pipe thingy that he strikes with his hand, a bow or a credit card. It’s incredibly unique and it sounds amazing. He did a cover of Rush’s “Tom Sawyer” that was so industrial, it almost felt as though that’s how that song should have been done to start with. Now I will have to say this though, after the first song, there was an extensive delay due to some cable issues. Kinda had me wishing that 1 guy had a 2nd guy to help with resolving the issue. With that said Mike Silverman (a.k.a. that 1 guy) overcame the issue and put on a show that made you forget there was an even an issue to start with. He is not just an amazing musician, but he defines what it is to be an artist. When he returns to Omaha, DO NOT MISS HIM!!
Headliner Wookiefoot are phenomenal and are a pure delight for all your senses. There is always something going on and you don’t dare to look away as you don’t want to miss a thing. According to their Facebook page they are influenced by Bob Marley and Pink Floyd. YEP!! That’s them in a nutshell. O.K. maybe a little Cirque de Soleil as well. The entertainment aspect of this collection of artists and musicians is off the chart. WookieFoot are so much more than just a musical act. They are a philosophy and they have a strong following, which is really more like a community. You want lights, they got it, you want fire, they got it. Don’t forget about neon clothes, face paint, costumes, dancers, magic, and oh yeah, fire extinguishers. There set is a spectacle with a main objective of crowd interaction and involvement. Everything they do, they do for the audience. I have this rule about traveling to see bands. 300 miles is normally my limit. I think I’ll be extending that now.
That 1 Guy
All images © Dean Birkheimer.