Concert Review: Tie These Hands, Ester Drang, Starflyer 59 (June 16, 2003, Omaha, NE)

I just got back from seeing the second great show in as many days. Tie These Hands, Ester Drang, and Starflyer 59 were up at Sokol in Omaha tonight, and it was all around a solid show. I don’t know about you, but sometimes when I’m making the drive up to Omaha for a concert, I wonder if it’ll be worth the time spent driving. I know it’s only 45 – 50 minutes away, but once you factor in all of the driving, it’s easily 2 – 2 1/2 hours total.

Tonight, however, was definitely worth the drive time. It’s been a long time since I left a show with my ears ringing this much, and it feels downright cathartic. Thank you God, for noise, feedback, analog keyboards, and effects pedals.

I’ve really been impressed with the amount of growth Tie These Hands have displayed in the past few months. They’ve still got a love for all things Deep Elm and Sunny Day Real Estate (in other words, emo), but they’re slowly turning into a great pop outfit. No matter how many times I hear it, I still love “Crusading to Regress,” though I’m convinced it needs some horns and maybe a flute or two, and they know how to bring the rock.

Ever since Goldenwest, Ester Drang has been near the tops in my books. Infinite Keys has only solidified that opinion. Most of Ester Drang’s set was taken from the new album, and I was literally spellbound at certain points. I loved the crushing wall of noise they created to lead into “The Temple Mount,” I was literally drowning in “Oceans of You,” and “I Don’t Want to Live (In a World of Infinite Keys)” was so much more intense live than I ever thought possible.

I’ll admit that Ester Drang was the main reason I went to the show, but I’d also be lying if I said I couldn’t wait to see Starflyer 59. Live, they’re almost like a totally different band… leaner, meaner, and louder than what you’d expect from the recordings (though their latest album, Old, comes close). Their version of “Place the C Chord” was just massive, Jason Martin’s extended guitar jams were great without being pretentious or trippy, and Frank Lenz is a freakin’ madman on the skins, period. When I first saw Starflyer 59 live, their shows were usually pretty spotty. But the last few times I’ve seen them, there’s a whole new confidence and swagger in their step… and I love it.

I managed to tape about 95% of the concert (I missed Tie These Hand’s last song), so if it turns out, and if it’s cool with the bands, and if I get my computer back soon, you can expect a few video clips to appear on the site in the near future.

On a somewhat related topic, I have to admit I’m still nervous when it comes to meeting bands, even bands that I’ve met before and have corresponded with in the past. It’s not that I put them up on a pedestal or anything, but I just don’t want to come off as some giddy fanboy (like that Chris Farley sketch on SNL).

I felt really bad, because I sort of snubbed the guys in Ester Drang, even though I interviewed them a few years back. I’m sure it would’ve been totally cool to say “Hi” to them in Burger King. They probably would’ve welcomed seeing a (somewhat) familiar face. When they did recognize me after the show, I felt like a bit of a schmuck.

I’ll have to do better when I see them in August.