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Concert Review: Viva Voce (October 2, 2004, Lincoln, NE)

For all of you chumps who went to the Pixies show like a bunch of suckers, the real show on October 2 was at Knickerbockers. I’d never seen Viva Voce live before, though my friends had always caught them at Cornerstone and raved about them. And although I thought their last full-length, 2003’s Lovers, Lead the Way was pretty decent, it did little to prepare me for the show on Saturday night.

Granted, it’d been awhile since I’d been to a show, so maybe that was part of the experience — it’d been awhile since my ears had been ringing that much — but Viva Voce, quite simply, rocked. Anita Robinson is easily one of the finest guitarists, female or otherwise, I’ve ever seen, literally ripping and shredding through each and every song, be it on the double-necked guitar or lap steel.

I never had an inkling as to just how powerful a guitarist she was, as Lovers, Lead the Way was quite densely layered and arranged. However, in concert the music is much rawer and more stripped down, and her talent is very obvious.

And her husband, Kevin, was equally amazing on drums (and guitar, keys, and backing vocals). Again, this may be due to it having been a long time since I’d been to a show, but I’d forgotten just how invigorating it can be to feel the whoomp of a kick drum pummel your chest — something I got to feel quite a bit during an amazing live version of ​“Fashionably Lonely” (one of my fave tracks from Lovers, Lead The Way).

Unfortunately, due to the Pixies show, the venue was pretty much empty — I think only 20 or so people came out — but the duo were quite gracious and took it all in stride. I did pick up their new album, The Heat Can Melt Your Brain, which is quite the fuzzy, psych-pop masterpiece, as well as a live recording they did on KEXP, and chatted with them for a few minutes; good folks all around. They’re on tour through the middle of November, so do go check them out if they come to your area.


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