GIG REVIEW: HEMLOCK & EKTOMORF Live at Omaha, NE
I give the Lookout Lounge in Omaha a lot of credit, they book a lot of great shows and bring a lot of bands that Omaha would never get to see otherwise. This would be one of those cases. It was another classic spring night, the weather was cold, dreary, and grey. The turnout started off pretty slow and people trickled in even slower. First on was local support, Exit Sanity. They are a booze metal band, but there is a point at which I have to wonder if they’re either too drunk to be playing or they’re so bad that they’re just pretending to be drunk so no one really says anything. Either way, you can tell they spend all their money on beer first, then gear, then maybe laundry.
Boasting a similar label of stoner metal, TenDead was on next. They couldn’t have been more different than the first band. Despite the bassist having shown up late, they dove right into the set and still put together one of the better sets of the night. While there were still plenty of miscues, the overall sound and quality of writing was substantially better. I liked them a lot and while I did feel like they could use some polishing and more rehearsal time, they did a good job overall. Next up was regional support from Apathy Syndrome, hailing from Des Moines, Iowa. Hey wait, you might have exclaimed, that’s where Slipknot is from. You’re not wrong internet reader, you’re not wrong! Apathy Syndrome is what you get after playing three rounds of the classic childhood game of telephone with Slipknot’s album Iowa. It’s 2016 and people are still trying to do what has been clearly shown to have only worked for one band and literally no one else past the 90’s. Yet, somehow bands like this are coming through at a growing rate. The quantity rises yet the quality does not.
Ektomorf was a really interesting band to see live. It was like taking a trip straight back to the peak of 90’s nu-metal, but before Limp Bizkit and Fred Durst ruined it for everyone. The energy they put out was raw and real. You could tell they were more genuine in their music which made a huge difference in a genre known for being otherwise shallow and vapid. It was a tough to watch them try and pump the crowd up like there were 40,000 people rather than maybe 40, but I have to commend the effort. Despite being almost too repetitive, Ektomorf was by and far the best band on the bill.
Hemlock was on last and I was really interested to see how they would follow up Ektomorf. I really think it would have been in both bands best interest to have switched slots because that was a hard follow. Just in the quality of music, there was a noticeable drop. It was pretty watered down, basic, and color-by-number nu-metal. It felt like they weren’t taking anything seriously, so it was hard to take them seriously as well. On the bright side, there were still plenty of people having a good time and realistically that’s all that matters. I even saw a few families come out with a few younger kids in tow. I caught them at the end of the night and the kids were walking out looking pretty stoked, which you can’t be mad about.