Story and Photos: Spencer Fleming
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Omaha's favorite trap metal band Dropout Kings (Arizona), made a triumphant return to the Waiting Room last night (9/27) and it was an absolute riot! Presented by Nice Enough Entertainment and 89.7 The River, the show also featured Discrepancies, Cultus Black, and Omaha's own Jay Influential. It may have been a Tuesday night, but the raucous crowd and energetic performances made it feel like Friday.
This was my third time seeing Dropout Kings in the last 18 months and they just keep getting better. Vocalist Adam Ramey mentioned several times how much they love coming to Omaha and it feels like their second home. The River has shown these guys a lot of support over the last few years having them live in studio and hosting their shows. I know I personally have taken a shine to Dropout Kings and love seeing bands like this grow. I've personally witnessed bands go from openers to massive headliners with help from The River. Does anyone remember a scrappy little group Five Finger Death Punch? How about Judah & The Lion? Highly Suspect? The list goes on. I know there's a lot more that goes into building a following than just radio appearances, but having that grassroot support surely helps. Dropout Kings gave several shout outs to The River so I know they appreciate the love they've been shown.
It also helps to have an engaging live show and taking the time to meet with with the people coming out to support. From the moment they arrived until the last fan left, Dropout Kings spent the entire time hanging out taking pictures and signing autographs. They didn't hide backstage to "create a mystique". I really enjoy talking with bands directly and for me this goes a long way.
I got to the venue right in time to catch Omaha rapper Jay Influential. I remembered catching Jay at the Lookout Lounge about three years ago when he played to roughly seven or eight people. This time around he had the legendary Omaha DJ, Zach "Surreal" Hennings in his corner. As I walked in the room Jay had a nice little crowd packed in up front pumping their fists and singing along. The crowd was definitely vibing as Jay dropped the heat. Playing for a good 20 minutes Jay and Surreal got the party started off right. Jay is going on a Midwest tour that will be making a stop at The Waiting Room on Friday October 14. Tickets are only $12 in advance so check that out!
Next up was the nu-metal group Cultus Black (CVLTVS BLACK) for scary effect. To be completely honest these guys were rocking, but also a little creepy! After going to hundreds of shows I've seen some creepy things along the way. The first time I saw Ghost (back when they were Ghost B.C.) immediately comes to mind, but it's been a while since I've had a little jump scare like that. Shrouded in masks and torn up threads the bass player and guitarist flanked a corpse-painted singer with jet black hair. Their booming bass and buzzsaw guitars exploded as puffs of smoke filled the air. With horns in the air the crowd started to thrash. Cultus Black has an active rock radio sound with hints of Slipknot, Fear Factory, and Spineshank. I could see them doing well on The River. Cultus Black is coming back to Nebraska with Static X next April. So mark your calendars if you want to get spooky.
After the creep show it was time to crank up the fun! Discrepancies were up next and they absolutely killed their set. Mixing hard flowing rhymes with upbeat bouncy rhythms, they had a style reminiscent of 90s rap-rockers The Urge. The crowd was moving and grooving to the rap-rock symphony as they pumped their fists and sang along. I had never heard Discrepancies before last night but apparently the word is out. Their lead singer was impressed that so many in the crowd were singing the words back. "Wow, some of you must have seen us before. Thanks for coming out again". As their set came to a close their singer said "Thank you Omaha, we're Discrepancies from St. Louis!" Alarm bells immediately went off in my head. Guys, The Urge is from St. Louis!!! I asked their singer if they knew Steve Ewing and The Urge. He said "Of course, those guys are legends". My mind was blown. Much like Dirty Honey is carrying on the legacy of Aerosmith, Discrepancies are keeping the rap-rock genre alive following in the footsteps of The Urge. I'm giving these guys a follow so I can catch them the next time they come through. I had a blast watching them and can't wait for the next one.
As I waited in front of the stage the intro music blared through monitors. Snippets of hip hop beats and DJ scratching kicked in followed by a cut from Nu-metal pioneers Linkin Park. As the kings of the night stepped on stage they were met with cheers from all around. "Omaha! Let's get it!" Adam picks up the mic and Black Cat Bill jumps on the riser just inches away from my camera. I move from left to right trying to catch bassist Chucky as he whips around in a circle with a giant smile.
Dropout Kings brought the heavy right out of the gate with "Going Rogue" from the 2018 release Audiodope. A small circle pit broke out a few feet behind me but I held my ground. After the next track, the band's most recognizable hit, "Virus", Adam jumped into the crowd to stir things up. "You guys have a little pit going but let's get this place turned up!" As the Kings blasted the crowd with their patented riot inducing riffs the pit whipped into a frenzy. I moved to the side a bit to protect my precious camera gear (not because I'd probably break a hip if I get knocked down in the pit, haha). Throughout the set Adam made his way into the crowd several times to pump up the crowd and take up the helm of pit commander. Over the next hour Dropout Kings proceeded to tear the roof off the Waiting Room with their trap metal tunes. Towards the end of the set the band brought out the first "Dropout Queen" Skyla or Skya? (sorry if I got the name wrong), but she killed it singing along on stage for two songs. She even had an all access laminate, way cool!
Dropout Kings invited the crowd to join their "gang" with the banger "Glitch Gang" and after fervent chants of "one more song" they came back out to kill the set with "20 Heads". Adam picked up the mic and said "Before we go can we get a Heyyyahh!" The band proceeded to greet every fan and take pictures for the next half hour. Not one person was left hanging. This is how empires are built my friends, one fan at a time. It was an absolute pleasure seeing these guys for the third time and having the opportunity to capture their raw energy.
I have to give a huge thank you to Justin Strawstone and Nice Enough Entertainment. This guy works tirelessly to bring fun and engaging acts through Omaha. Also shout out to Dave Campbell and the Waiting Room staff for always keeping things on point. Much love.
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