Story and Photos: Mike Wohlhutter Editor: Spencer Fleming
It had been a while since my last trip to Benson, but after hearing a lot of buzz about the Omaha band Leafblower I knew I had to get out and catch their headlining show at the Sydney on Saturday (2/8).
This was my first trip to The Sydney and all I’d heard about it previously was that it’s "perfectly intimate.” I’m not sure what that’s supposed to mean, but I quickly agreed. It’s a long, narrow, dimly lit room with a full bar and a decent stage in the back. The staff was friendly and accommodating and I can say that it surely won’t be my last visit to this venue.
The first band up was Living Conditions and these guys were no joke. I can only describe them as a relentless assault of thrash that came in two to three-minute waves and left you wanting more. The band faced away from the audience the entire show. All members turned in toward the drummer and seemed to feed off each other’s energy.
The next band up was Her Flyaway Manner This group of Lincoln music scene veterans came out swinging with a high energy flavor reminiscent of a few personal favorites such a Fugazi or Minor Threat. Their experimental sound hit the crowd with odd time signatures, drum and bass grooves, and catchy vocals, leaving everyone in the room stunned. At one point, front man Brendan McGinn said they have been at this for over 20 years and they have a sound that only gets tighter as the years go on.
At last it was time for the headlining act, Omaha's own Leafblower. Now, this wasn’t just any Saturday night show, Leafblower was also releasing their brand new 7" vinyl. The new record features songs, “Yes Men,” and “Still Lazy After All These Beers.” As if that wasn’t cool enough, the band also donated a portion of the evening's bar sales to the Autism Action Partnership.
The stage was completely dark as one sole member came out of the crowd sporting their signature "Tim" mask and bib overalls. He creepily sat on the edge of the stage playing a squeezebox with a circus vibe to it. Out came the other members in their matching attire and quickly unleashed a whirlwind of fuzz and noise.
Leafblower launched into their newest single, “Still Lazy,” and the crowd wasted no time drawing in closer to see what was about to unfold. This was a set full of heavy riffs and drums that matched. Intense, droning vocals drove the sound home.
I suppose Leafblower would fall into the genre of doom/stoner metal, but during their set they also displayed a good time/party feel. I’m a big fan of bands such as Clutch, Sabbath, Mastodon, and The Sword and I could see myself putting Leafblower into my regular listening rotation. Partway through the set the band ripped off their masks and filled the entire room smoke amplifying the green stage lighting. Leafblower finished the night off with another favorite, “Night Sweat,” and left it all on the stage with nothing more to give. Leafblower’s new 7” vinyl is available now. Make sure to follow on Facebook so you can catch their next show. You won’t be disappointed!
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