I did end up pulling the trigger at the last moment and attending the Elvis Costello and Nick Lowe show at Steelhouse Omaha last night, and I am glad I did. We got to the venue and found our seats, and minutes later Nick Lowe and Los Straitjackets took to the stage. He began with my favorite song of his, “So It Goes,” and was in fine voice. The Los Straitjackets are a crack band on their own and perfect for Lowe, as they know each other well and have collaborated for a long time. Where do we go from there? Lowe’s catalog of music he has written and recorded, written for other people, and produced is massive. He would go on to perform quite a bit of stuff from his early solo career, including deeper cuts like “Raging Eyes” and “Without Love”. No “I Love The Sound Of Breaking Glass” “Heart Of The City” or “Mary Provost”. At 75 years old and with a career like the one he has had, he can play whatever he wants. He was charming on stage, complimenting the audience and humbling himself as the warm up act. He would leave the stage at one point to give surf rock band Los Straitjackets their spotlight on a couple tracks. He bookended that segment with two songs from his 2020 album with Los Straitjackets, entitled Walkabout. In the mix were also “Battlefield” which was recorded by Paul Carrack, and the fun “Half A Boy And Half A Man”, before the inevitable “Cruel To Be Kind.” I was hoping that he would close out with the Rockpile song “When I Write The Book” like he sometimes does, but instead we got “I Knew The Bride When She Used To Rock And Roll”. This was the song that was in my head when I woke up this morning.
This was the first seated show at The Steelhouse, and they filled the floor and the aisles with seats. It looked fine and seemed to work. I know I talked with some people during the break who had to move seats, because having a couple larger people sitting next to each other wasn’t working out. I personally don’t like to be seated at shows like this because sitting during songs like “Cruel To Be Kind” is torture, even though he kind of slowed that song down. You are also trapped when it is reserved and could end up with tall sitting people, talkers, and people getting up and down to use the restroom or get drinks the whole time. We had all of that during Nick Lowe’s set. We opted to stand at the back of the venue for Elvis Costello’s set. You can see perfectly fine there, and the sound is also good. One of the bars up front on the side closed, so we actually went and stood by that for a while and might have had the best vantage point in the place. Soon others would join and dance, and while security was present, they were not on top of us as nothing was getting out of hand. In my three shows at Steelhouse so far, I have nothing but great things to say about it. It’s so easy to move about, find the right sightlines, and avoid talkers, taller people, and what-have-you.
Elvis Costello took to the stage with his band, which thankfully included Steve Nieve, who didn’t make it to Costello’s Memorial Park show because of visa issues. Costello talked about that on stage and said the Omaha show is why this band is currently standing on stage. They brought in Charlie Sexton to fill out the band in 2021 for the park show, and he is also on this summer tour with Elvis. That Memorial Park show was filled with cover songs, and I don’t feel like Elvis sounded very good that night either, but all of those worries went away quickly here as he sounded great, pumping out “Radio Radio” and a beautiful version of “Accidents Will Happen,” showcasing his aged but still affecting vocals. Out of his last three albums, I really liked “Look Now” and “The Boy Named If”. I did not like Hey Clockface, but tonight he played “Hetty O’ Hara Confidential,” and I have to say that song ended up being one of, if not the highlight, of the night. Who would’ve thought that would be a great live song that would get the feet moving? “Magnificent Hurt” off of Boy Named If was another highlight. Another song off Hey Clockface that ended up being part of the more experimental jam segment of the night that allowed Nieve to do his thing was “We Are All Cowards Now”. There was a point around this time of the show where the big bass beats were so loud they vibrated leftover confetti from the Flaming Lips show out of the rafters. He covered many of the hit’s also including “Welcome To The Working Week”, “Allison ”, ” Watching The Detectives” and “What’s So Funny ‘Bout Peace Love & Understanding’ ‘. Costello and his band were in fine form last night, and it was fun to watch them stretch out and play a set of current material along with favorites. I had only seen the Memorial Park show and two other shows where he was the opening act, so it was nice for me to see a proper headlining show from him.
Yesterday, Orville Peck announced on Instagram that he would be postponing his summer tour, which includes his sold-out show at The Admiral. He has stated that his mental and physical health are going to hinder him from bringing his best to the stage. “I have to take this time to replenish my mind and body so that I can come back stronger than before in order to do what I love for many years to come.” There was a time when doing something like this would have really hurt someone’s career. Thankfully, most people now understand and commend people for realizing when they have hit their limit and taking care of themselves.
A few new shows announced yesterday include Samia, whose album Honey is one of my favorites of 2023 thus far. Samia will be at the Waiting Room on October 21st. I wouldn’t sleep on picking up tickets to that show. Fun fact: Samia is the daughter of actress Kathy Najimy.
On July 28th, Plack Blague, Solid Goldberg, and Ex Lover will play at The Waiting Room, which will be an absolute blast.
Rhymesayers rapper Grieves will be at The Slowdown on September 15th.