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Surprisingly raw

Turner Hall
Milwaukee, WI
Feb. 22, 2008
Limbeck Limbeck Limbeck

Story and Photos by Matt Schwenke

Somewhat quietly billed as the last chance to see Orange County-based alt-country rockers Limbeck for an indefinite amount of time, the announcement didn't have much weight on their performance at Turner Hall as the band doesn't have the name recognition this far east to illicit a reflexive trip to the ticket booths for a potential farewell. Sticking out amongst the overproduced and desperately trendy music from within the county they've called home since forming in 1999, however, Limbeck's sound was surprisingly raw and sounded more like a band getting ready for what could be a successful career rather than a band possibly on its way out.

Touring in support of their 2007 self-titled studio album and a new live recording The Delicacy of Living Modestly, a bit of their pop side was showing in "Big Drag," but in a simply catchy Wilco sort of way, with lead vocalist and guitarist Robb MacLean and lead guitarist and vocalist Patrick Carrie adding pleasant harmonies over a subtly creative Americana foundation. The country-leaning "Sin City" took the band back to its 2005 material from Let Me Come Home and neared the feel-good warmth of The Band, with the vocal harmonies again leading the way and some finely selective use of guitar solos. But the most unique offering of the night came in the form of "In Ohio on Some Steps," from the 2003 release Hi, Everything's Great, which was a quiet and stripped-down poetic recollection of a woman and traveling that built to a strong finish with bassist Justin Enstminger and drummer Jon Phillip pushing the intensity.

As a sparse but devoted audience sang along word for word, it became apparent that the band could connect with its audience (at one point MacLean told the crowd "I owe you all another chorus later" after skipping a round in an earlier song while the crowd sang on a bit confused), but their exploitation of being from the O. C. (their song "Julia" revolves solely around the different highways in the county) is ultimately detrimental in the case of most Midwesterners and others who aren't from the area (and those who don't care for freeway memorization exercises). Image and promotion aside, Limbeck have undeniable talent, but had more of their musical inspiration come from throughout the nation instead of their exclusive seaside locale, they might be talking about a big leap forward instead of a possible hiatus.
Limbeck Limbeck

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