by Dan Bolles
When I left you last week, I promised to regale you with delicious stories of elbow-rubbing debauchery from the "crazy-ass" wedding I attended in Omaha, NE. Well, I went. It was cool. But I'm afraid my hyperbolic descriptions of the event in the last post were a bit off the mark. Maybe it was a case of wishful thinking. In any event, here's the rundown.
Those of you who bothered to follow the links at the end of the post, perhaps connected the dots and figured out that the hitchin' involved some Saddle Creek Records folks — for those not in the know, Saddle Creek was founded by depressed-teen heartthrob, Bright Eyes (aka Conor Oberst). The groom, Steve Pedersen, is the guitarist/front-man for indie-darlings Criteria and married my girlfriend's college roommate. Thus, we were invited to attend.
In an effort to sell the idea of traveling to the mid-West in June, Joanna promised me that "all the cool kids would be there." Bright Eyes, Cursive, Tilly and the Wall, etc. There was supposedly even a chance that M. Ward and My Morning Jacket's Jim James would attend, as well a slim possibility that everyone's favorite shoplifter-cum-ultimate-band-floozy, Winona Ryder would be there.
The real kicker was that the reception was to be held at Saddle Creek's newly-minted Mecca of hipsterdom, Slowdown. Part night club, part artist's co-op, the venue is intended as a means towards centralizing Omaha's remarkably vibrant music scene. Methinks it's an idea that could work well on a smaller scale right here in Burlington. Paging Lee Anderson . . .
Alas, Bright Eyes was in Munich, James and Ward were nowhere to be found and Ryder . . . well, who really knows? Maybe I should check San Quentin.
Notable absences aside, there was no shortage of indie icons at the wedding or any of the accompanying functions — Feist was there! . . . sigh. It was really kind of fun to watch the small enclave of thrift-store chic musicians try and keep up with (or flatly ignore) the frenetic physical movements of a full Catholic Mass — personally, I gave up after my first awkward attempt at a genuflect. In a sea of card-carrying red-staters, the Saddle Creek folks really stuck out, as did, I imagine, the bearded music critic in the back row.
There was a party at Slowdown, though the actual reception was at the stately Omaha Country Club and ironically featured the cheesiest wedding band in history. I guess even rock stars have musically challenged parents.
The party was an effort to celebrate with friends that were unable to attend the actual wedding and was chock-full of interesting folks. I had the pleasure of meeting several indie luminaries including members of Tilly and the Wall, Cursive and Criteria.
Oddly, there was no live music that night which, in retrospect was a good thing. It was refreshing to hang out with musicians free of agenda — mine or theirs. In fact, I'm not sure we even talked about music the whole night. However, we did discuss the beef capital's slogan — Omaha: Rare, but Well Done. Are you taking notes, LCRCC?
In any event, it was a great trip and a beautiful wedding. Steve and Emily, if you're reading this, my heartfelt congrats. And if you run into Bright Eyes, tell him I said hi.