DEAN BIRKHEIMER | Go Venue Magazine
“Music, at its essence, is what gives us memories. And the longer a song has existed in our lives, the more memories we have of it..” ~Stevie Wonder
Hey, before we get into the actual review, can I say a few words about Barnato Cocktail Lounge? This place is wonderful, everything about it was obviously painstakingly designed. The lighting is great, the stage is gorgeous and most importantly the sound is impeccable. I was greeted at the door by two very courteous, friendly, and professional people. Not to mention, this place is a 3-minute drive from my house. Speaking of driving, Barnato is also a Bentley dealer. I was told a $20,000 deposit would afford me an opportunity to test drive one. This show was my first visit to Barnato, and I have no doubt it will not be the last.
On with the show. This was initially scheduled to be opened by Julianna Hatfield. Her official statement that can be found on her website was, “Hello, friends. I am very, very sorry to have to say this but due to unforeseen circumstances I am no longer going to be able to take part in the upcoming tour that I’d planned on doing with Soul Asylum and Local H. I was really looking forward to it, and to all the music, and to seeing everyone out there, and I hope to be able to hit the road again before too long. xoxo, Juliana”
With Julianna unable to attend, the show opened with Local H. Forming in 1990 and hailing from Zion, Illinois, Local H has been described simply as a rock band. They are much more than that. They are Shoegaze meets grunge meets alt-pop, and to limit them to just that does them an injustice. Scot Lucas (vocals/guitar) and Ryan Harding (drums and backing vocals) are the only two members. Don’t be fooled by their size, however, these two fellas can completely fill a stage. I counted at least 5 pedals board in front of Scot, and Ryan’s ability behind the kit was astonishing. At one point I found myself completely mesmerized by the way Scot plays, so much so, I totally forgot that I was there to take pictures. There are many superb guitar players out there, but what sets Scot apart is he looks like what a guitar player should look like. The way he holds and swings it, and his hands are always busy. There is a demeanor about him that screams, “I am a rock and roll star.” Ryan is certainly no slouch at what he does. This guy can make your arms tired, just watching him work. The two of them went through “As Good As Dead” in its entirety, and it was Ryan who made sure the transitions between songs were flawless. If you were not able to catch Local H this night, have no fear, they will be coming to Lincoln on October 9th with Radkey, who just recently opened for the Foo Fighters. This promised to be an exceptional show, be sure to get tickets early.
MANIFEST DENSITY PART 1 – BOUND FOR THE FLOOR – LOVEY DOVEY – SAW WHAT YOU DID – FREEZE DRIED – EDDIE VETTER – BACK IN THE DAY – NO PROBLEM – NOTHING SPECIAL – FRITZ’S CORNER – HIGH FIVING – O.K. – MANIFEST DENSITY PART 2
Coming at us next from Minneapolis was Soul Asylum. They got together back in 1981, but it was 1993 when they won their Grammy for “Runaway Train.” When they hit the stage, they did so in a dark and moody setting. When the lights kicked on, they started off with “Got It Pretty Good”, then right to one of their bigger hits, “Shove”. These were the first two songs off their 20-song set list. The band currently consists of vocalist Dave Pirner, guitarist Ryan Smith, touring bassist Jeremy Tappero and legendary drummer Michael Bland. Bland is best known as the original drummer for Prince. Primer’s voice has a distinctive scratchiness to it that immediately lets you know you’re listening to Soul Asylum. He moved about the stage endlessly. His energy matched only by Ryan. Ryan loves to jump and break things, and it appears he loves being a big star. Who can blame him? Thanks to Soul Asylum, the 90s alt was alive and well at the Barnato. The bands dedication and unwavering desire to perform is a testament to their longevity. Don’t think for one minute that these guys must rely on the past for their music. “Hurry Up and Wait” was released in 2020 and is their biggest selling album since the 90s. All the grit and charm you expect is there on this album and Primer obviously can write a melodic song in his sleep. If you’re looking for a show that will keep you singing with band members who will entertain you and who can basically play their butts off, then do what you must to catch a Soul Asylum show.
At the end, I knew that Local H and Soul Asylum showed us that even though they are classic 90s bands, they both have evolved and what they are doing these days easily matches anything they did in the past. They have both leveled up their games.
GOT IT PRETTY GOOD – SHOVE – MISERY – LITTLE TOO CLEAN – EASY STREET – NICE GUYS – STRING OF PEARLS – HERE WE GO – BY THE WAY – HOMESICK – VEIL OF TEARS – LATELY – GOOD FOR YOU – HOPPED UP FEELIN’ – BLACK GOLD – RUNAWAY TRAIN – CLOSER TO THE STARS – JUST LIKE ANYONE – CAN’T EVEN TELL – APRIL FOOL
EXTRA – Barnato Club
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