LIARS BRING TRUTH
a cold, windy Lincoln, NE night, a couple of native sons
took the stage with their New York band mates and pummeled
the crowd with a menacing show full of screams, guitar
wails and an all out auditory assault on a surprised,
yet grateful audience. The
Liars, one of New York’s hottest acts, played a crowded
Duffy’s Tavern and, for a lack of a better cliché, rocked
quartet was obviously at home in the Cornhusker state. Nebraska
natives, bassist Pat Noecker and drummer Ron Albertson,
were indistinguishable from other bar patrons before the
set began. Not
long after Crush The Clown finished its opening set, the
four members calmly set down their drinks, took the stage
and nearly blew a hole in the small tavern.
Liars rode in to Lincoln on the wave of their debut album
They Threw Us All In a Trench and Stuck a Monument
On Top, and a recent surge in popularity. Rolling
Stone placed them in a list of New York bands to watch,
and a brand new
record deal on Mute/Blast First also had the foursome
riding high. With all the momentum behind them, the Liars
blasted through a 40-minute set that left many audience
members wearing an eerie smirk of disbelief.
with “Loose Nuts on the Veladrome,” singer Angus Andrew
let out the first of the night’s yelps, “Last night, you
and I/we gathered berries with a flashliiiiiiiight,” and
had the show underway. The
stage was barely large enough to contain the raw energy
and showmanship of the band. Noecker
and guitarist Aaron Hempell crashed into each other repeatedly
while belting out back up lyrics and knocking down microphone
pounded away on his drums like a madman to set the pace
for the destructive set.
through "Loose Nuts," Andrew and the crew had
the show goers in their hypnotic grasp. Anyone
who had been sitting down was quickly to their feet, looking
for a better viewpoint. Andrew
continued to wail out as if in anguish and paced about
the stage. He
shed his “South Dakota” baseball cap, only to replace
it and tear off an overshirt. The band continued to belt
out furious bass riffs, guitar wails and percussive chaos.
the Liars finished up each tune, wails of feedback escaped
from Hempell’s guitar, while Noecker and Andrew paced
and gazed out among the crowd. Albertson
brought order back to the show each time. A
four-count on the drumsticks was the precursor to an all-out
assault on a kit that seemed comically too small for the
unrelenting drummer. The
foursome ripped through “The Garden Was Crowded and Outside”
and “Grown Men Don’t Fall In the River, Just Like That,”
stopping only to catch their breath between tunes.
the show, Andrew, the tall Australian vocalist, paced
back and forth and even perched himself high atop the
speaker system, all the while shouting out haunting, yet
gripping lyrics. Noecker
pounded furiously on his bass, taking his hands off only
to push Andrew or Hempell out of the way when they got
too close. Hempell
remained somewhat of a mystery throughout the set. Turning
to face the crowd once or twice at most, the guitarist
would drop to one knee, get up, and bounce about like
even he didn’t know where he was going next. All
the while Albertson lurked in the background, pounding
away at his drums without even a momentary lapse of intensity.
the second song, I climbed atop a chair to get a better
angle to photograph the show. A
girl to my right looked at me like I was a fool for not
doing so before. Alongside
her, two other girls kneeled on a bar table to see the
show unfolding before them. I
took a survey of the crowd and noticed every chair in
the room’s purpose had changed from being places to sit,
to being highly sought after visual aids.
they bulldozed through their set, I tried to find a band
to compare the Liars to. None
came to mind, so instead I tried placing a name on their
style of music. Some
may call it punk, hard-core punk, prog, experimental or
any combination thereof. Before
the show, a bar patron asked me what they sound like. The
best I could come up with on the spot was, combine the
excitability of Jon Spencer Blues Explosion with the straightforward
attack of Fugazi and you have a start.
not making direct mention of their Lincoln ties, Noecker
did take the time to recognize his parents. The
Hartington, NE natives made the three-hour plus trek to
see their son pound at his bass and writhe about with
his quartet. The
bassist pointed in the direction of his folks, who gave
a reluctant wave. There
was no doubt who he was pointing to. The
only man and woman in the room old enough to conceivably
have a child near 30 were tucked away near a side wall.
they sat contently at their table, I had to wonder what
they thought of their son’s show. They
had to be proud that he was making it, but like many parents,
probably had no idea what the hell their child’s music
was saying. The
bass-heavy guitar-wail laden tracks resembled much of
what parent’s despise about their kids’ music: noise. Or
so it may seem to the untrained ear. The
screams and pounding of the rock hard tunes gave me the
impression of a band whose songs I wanted to hear again,
and of course, again. To
quench my curiosity, I approached them after the show
and complimented them on their son’s performance.
does real good,” his dad told me.
New York based quartet was fresh off several shows in
Europe, landed shortly before the Mute/Blast First deal. The
success clearly hasn’t gotten to them yet. Before
and after their set, all four members enjoyed the venue
for what it was: a bar. Noecker
and Albertson looked like prodigal bar sons, tipping back
drinks and hugging old friends.
the show, I approached Noecker to ask if he minded if
I took a few photos during the show. I
intended to introduce myself, and then ask, but that wasn’t
I could even mutter, “Hey Pat, I’m Mike Krings, I was
wondering…” he remembered my name and answered the unasked
guess is he was clued off to the question by the camera
hanging around my neck.)
Afterwards, the story was the same with Albertson.
the Nebraska-born duo caught up on missed time with the
locals, Andrew calmly climbed atop a booth and hawked
copies of They Threw Us All In a Trench and Stuck a
Monument On Top. Hempell
appeared to have pulled roadie duty for the evening. While
his three band mates wandered about and socialized, he
calmly remained on stage, wrapping up chords and laughing
with those who approached him.
The Liars have strong Nebraska ties, they brought a show
the likes of which many here may not be used to seeing.
The surprise was more than welcome, as evident by the stunned
grins nearly everyone was wearing by the end of the set.
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