By Kelly Langin, Contributor
Twin Peaks brought the hype surrounding their rise in the national indie rock scene to Midtown Art Supply Tuesday.
Temperatures were low as the crowd packed together in the cold venue that was barely made warmer fans danced as Twin Peaks launched into chord-heavy tunes from Wild Onion, their critically-acclaimed album released earlier this year.
The three vocalists of Twin Peaks took turns snarling into their microphones as their guitars shifted between powerpop chords and familiar melodies. Their style seemed to touch on both modern indie rock like Ty Segall as well as rock pioneers like The Rolling Stones. In fact, their hit “Telephone” is extremely reminiscent of The Nerves’ popular “Hanging On the Telephone” from the 70s.
Twin Peaks didn’t approach Omaha like they’ve been featured in big indie news outlets like Pitchfork and Stereogum. The young men didn’t act like they were above playing such a small venue after performing at Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago, their hometown, or recently setting up tour dates in Europe.
Instead, Twin Peaks executed their intimate set on the concrete floor near the dancing crowd. The members donned heavy winter coats and bounced around to keep warm. A guitarist spun his body into the tightly-packed mass several times, banging his head along with the crowd. Fans took pictures directly behind the band on their way to the bathroom.
Eric in Outerspace kicked off the lineup, playing lo-fi rock to a small group of about 10 people. The lead vocalist’s lyrics sailed above the fuzzy guitars. Their set, which could be clearly heard from Harney Street, drew in a nearly-packed crowd by the end of their set.
Telepathy Problems followed Eric, hitting the crowd with heavy-hitting head bangers that incited the initial dancing. Much like Twin Peaks, Telepathy Problems seem to draw influences from older rock bands with catchy melodies while staying true to fuzzy garage punk.
The lineup competed Desaparecidos, Conor Oberst’s punk project, for attendees Tuesday. Some skipped the sold-out Saddle Creek-veteran’s show at the Waiting Room to check out a new band and to take advantage of the cheaper admission price. Others, however, were driven by curiosity for the show’s venue, a mysterious art supply store that has only hosted five music shows to date.
Midtown Art Supply, located in Midtown near 26th and Harney streets, doesn’t have a large fancy sign. In fact, it’s hard to tell anything exists in the building at all except for the groups of cigarette smokers looming outside, retreating into the building at the sound of the first guitar chord of a band’s set.
Co-op signs and vintage event flyers decorated the high ceilings. Near the unused stage was a black “No Peace” graffiti from when hardcore punk outfit Trash Talk christened Midtown Art Supply as a music venue in June. People huddled around a single space heater, the only source of external warmth among the winter-coated crowd, and stepped around cords and amps to reach the bathroom in the back corner. A blank projection screen blocked the elevated stage, forcing the bands to play on the floor directly in front of the people. A few rows back, only the tops of the musicians’ heads could be seen at any given time.
A Twin Peaks fan said the venue carried the same aesthetic as seeing a show in a basement. Ignoring the two-story-high ceilings, the space exhibited many of the same qualities as a house show: few lights, no heat and a keg in the corner. Midtown Art Supply’s art gallery half was closed off by a strip of white plastic, sealing everyone in a packed gray rectangle. The entire sound system balanced on a cutaway in the white wall.