In its seemingly typical fashion, Omaha managed to get another incredible band to stop through on their tour, while bringing out a surprisingly small (aka normal) crowd. The fortune of this is that those of us who have been trying to find any way to see Iron Chic, as well as catch some other great acts, get a chance at being included on that list of fans. What makes it truly wonderful is that they, Company Retreat, Hand Painted Police Car, HeatWaves, Lookout Lounge and Black Heart Booking all delivered.
HeatWaves, local to Omaha, opened up the night with plenty of energy and enthusiasm, and like any good band, had fun through the fuckups. To me, nothing brings a crowd in better than acknowledging when some part of a song goes sideways (like forgetting part of the first verse), and then laughing through it and right into the next song. At moments their sound was raw, and other times immediately threw me back to the punk of the late 90s/early 2000s, specifically making me think of Useless ID. You can check out their bandcamp page here.
Next up came Hand Painted Police Car, a group that catches you a bit off guard. Four gentlemen took the stage who were very obviously older than most of the crowd, and look like they have well-established careers away from their band (the collective cost of their instruments is likely approaching, if not surpassing, the $10k mark). However, the old adage holds true: do not judge a book by its cover. HPPC delivered a set hearkening the style of old school punk, but that (partially thanks to their quality gear) sounded like it was re-mastered and then tightened up by a timing aficionado like Dave Grohl (sample the goods). Their set left me impressed, and I’ll look forward to finding them at a future show.
Most shows don’t have more than one or two openers, and Company Retreat’s performance made it feel like that was true; these guys played and delivered like they were the headlining act. They put humor and great vibes right up front, taking the stage in Hawaiian shirts and getting quips and jokes rolling…and then they actually started playing. They hit the changes like clockwork, bringing a full sound, and laying the groundwork for Iron Chic to come on and take the evening home. Company Retreat is out of Kansas City, just dropped an album, and they’ve actually got a couple shows coming up in their hometown on the 19th and 25th, at Riot Room and Davey’s Uptown respectively. I highly recommend giving them a listen, find them on iTunes, Spotify, or best of all, live.
Finally, the night closed out with Long Island punk outfit Iron Chic. While the crowd may not have been big, the ones who turned up were within the fold and made it known by singing along and pumping their fists with the words. Iron Chic put together an amazing setlist, pulling hits from each of their three full-lengths, and even threw in an encore covering Green Day’s “She.” I couldn’t have asked for a better first experience with seeing these guys perform, and I definitely want to catch them again. I tried to keep track of their set, in between losing my voice and snapping a couple shots, and included a Spotify playlist below. If you like punk, and this group shows up near you, don’t hesitate, just GO.