Canada-based electropop band Junior Boys performed at the Slowdown Sept. 24, a popular music venue and bar located about 15 minutes from the University of Nebraska at Omaha campus. The concert attracted people of all ages, proving that the music scene in Omaha is as vibrant as ever.
The Slowdown hosts a variety of events three to four nights per week along with a weekly pub quiz. The building often stays open until 2 a.m., offering a post-show happy hour to its 21 and older guests.
The venue was named after Omaha-based group Slowdown Virginia, who broke up in 1995 to later form Cursive, an indie band that has played an integral role in shaping the local music scene. Neighbors of the Slowdown include Urban Outfitters, Film Streams and Blue Line Coffee. Saddle Creek Records is also nearby, a label that started as a college class project and has since signed well-known bands like Bright Eyes and Tokyo Police Club.
People are often surprised when they first walk into the Slowdown.
The venue is intimate yet big enough for people to dance, drink at the bar or play the various board games that are available to anyone. There’s plenty of seating with booths on one side and tables in the middle, along with an impressive bar near the stage. Around the side of the performance area is a room with a pool table and video games, which are often enjoyed by the audience and performers as well.
Opening for Junior Boys was Canada-based electronic acts Borys and Egyptrixx. Borys started the show with a seemingly improvised set, using a turntable, effects, looping and a computer as his instruments. Borys’ music was incredibly bass and drum heavy, sometimes with random sound bites thrown in.
The opening acts often came off as awkward and misunderstood.
During Borys’ set, his music was incredibly energetic. Despite this, he was the only person dancing in the entire venue; most of the audience was sitting completely still, staring blankly ahead. While the passion he showed was inspiring, it was strange to hear such hype music played to such a dead crowd.
Egyptrixx was even more weird if that’s possible. For his set, the lighting was turned down for the strobe lights which added an interesting effect to an otherwise boring performance. His songs were mind-numbingly repetitive, sounding something like a pretentious, angsty teenager might create on his vintage synthesizer.
During Egyptrixx’s set, a few people finally went closer to the stage and began bobbing their heads along to the beat. All of a sudden, a person clothed in an entirely red jumpsuit and hood appeared. The person stood there for quite a while before they started moving their limbs extremely slowly.
They then crawled on the ground— much like a caterpillar—then getting to a certain part of the song where they would writhe on the dancefloor, pretending to die.
The audience seemed confused yet captivated by the strange dance, which we later found out was planned.
Perhaps the dance was a deep metaphor of sorts but it certainly came off more comedic than anything. Egyptrixx left the stage without saying a single word to the audience.
Last but certainly not least, Junior Boys performed. The band was formed in 1999 in Ontario, Canada. The audience seemed excited to finally see some real instruments—drums, a guitar and even an actual vocalist—take the stage. Junior Boys also used loops, computers, MIDI keyboards and a massive effects pedalboard but in a much more tasteful way than the previous acts.
Junior Boys’ music sounds like something straight out of the 1980’s with synthesizers and staccato beats. Front man Jeremy Greenspan’s smooth vocals soared throughout the venue, pairing with dreamlike, high tempo instrumentals reminiscent of bands like The Cure and Tears for Fears. The audience danced around the front of the stage and graciously applauded after each song, especially at the end of their set.
Popular groups such as Tech N9ne and Reel Big Fish are set to perform at the Slowdown this fall. Any Omaha resident with a love for music should check out this venue because it’s one of the best spots in the city for live performances and new experiences.