Omianan: Live at the Firehall Arts Centre

The DIY quartet adds Thad Bailey-Mai on trumpet and swaps Russell Sholberg in on bass

Omianan: Live at the Firehall Arts Centre

On Omianan’s live EP recorded at the Firehall Arts Centre on Cordova Street, the quartet adds Thad Bailey-Mai on trumpet and temporarily subs their Paper Dream album bassist Nikko Whitworth, due to an injury, for Russell Sholberg. The WCMA-nominated band plays one song from the album, two new ones, and two improv interludes.

“At Last It Rained”, the returning tune, has a slow indie groove after “Improv #1” and some naturalistic guitar chording. Thad fills behind Sara’s vocals and participates attentively in a group improv section. Because it's first on the setlist here, it doesn't quite match what I wrote about the album cut:

'“At Last it Rained” has that feeling after a powerful number at a rock gig, when your ears need a rest and you space out to an isolated, reverberating guitar; but it builds for a while, too.'

“Improv #2”, with mainly guitar and drums, sets up “A New Thing” — trumpet over the bassline before the lyrics kick in with the drumbeat. The vibe's not quite the New Thing at Tyrant Studios: Omianan’s music is still indeed more like a rock gig than a jazz club show, though in this case a chill one.

The sad-folk ballad “New Home” is a soft ender, giving Thad’s trumpet a sweet showcase over the rhythm section. The short set wraps up with a dynamic loud-to-quiet, and we’re off to wonder if and when we’ll hear this lineup again. WCMA-nominated in 2022, Omianan is the best-recorded product of the Sara Kim / Jesus Caballero musical connection that thrived in the mid-2010s at small DIY venues. I miss hearing that stuff; It makes me wonder who the current equivalents are.

Listen now

Live at the Firehall Arts Centre: Improv #1; At Last It Rained; Improv #2; A New Thing; New Home. (24:01)

Personnel: Sara Kim on vocals; Thad Bailey-Mai on trumpet; Thomas Hoeller on guitar; Russell Sholberg on bass; Jesus Caballero on drums.