Monday, January 16, 2006

Live Review: Criteria

Along with my many adventures, I also plan on posting music commentaries and reviews. My first will be of Criteria, who played at the Creepy Crawl on Friday night. Some of you more pretentious folk may know Criteria lead singer/guitarist Steve Pedersen from his previous work with fellow Omaha band Cursive. Pedersen left Cursive in 1998 to attend Duke School of Law, but continued to make music with his new band the White Octave. He finally returned home to Omaha, forming Criteria. Saddle Creek records finally decided to sign Criteria with their second album "When We Break," a pretty straightforward rock record full of fist-pumping anthems and math-guitar exchanges.

The Criteria boys were in top form friday night, playing to an apologetically small crowd. Those of us who did make it didn't hold back on the love, though, and the show seemed intimate rather than "small." Petersen concluded every song with his apparent patented "Thank you" said in the most friendly and optimistic tone you could ever imagine. His onstage banter consisted mainly of questions about St. Louis, the weather, and other local points of interest. Whenever someone would answer one of his questions, he'd respond with "Oh, sounds like Omaha." Come on, that's REALLY funny.

True to his word, Pedersen and the boys blazed through an hour long set so that we could all "get home in time for the late airing of the Daily Show." Already the band sounds exponentially more confident than they did during the "En Garde" era, and they only seem to be getting better. I took a very large personal step that evening: Attempting to overcome my fear of talking to musicians that I admire, I spoke with Pedersen after the show. He's got to be one the nicest guys in indie rock today ( not that I have many experiences to compare him to, but he's definately easier to talk to than ...and You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead's Conrad Keely ). Overall, it was a great show. I hope they decide to come back soon.


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