By Jason Schock
Theatrical hard rock “concept” band Arson City, which features Falls City native Matt Oliver on bass and backing vocals, Tuesday released its first full-length record, titled “The Horror Show,” on iTunes, Amazon, Google Play and other online music vendors. The physical copy of the CD will be for sale Friday, March 20, at the Omaha band’s CD release party at The Waiting Room Lounge at 62nd and Maple Streets. Three local bands open for Arson City and doors open at 7 – the show begins at 8. Tickets can be purchased leading up to this Friday at www.etix.com, though they are going quickly, Oliver said Monday.
“It’s the quickest we’ve ever had this many sell pre-show and it might sell out before Friday,” Oliver said. “That’s the goal, anyway.”
Arson City is comprised of former Emphatic lead singer Patrick Wilson, guitarists Matt Dibiase and Mark Beckenhauer, drummer Matt Denker and Oliver – the latter three of whom used to play with The Wreckage. The band, not unlike Kiss or Slipknot, has developed characters for each member and incorporates an all-encompassing concept to their music and stage show: “Arson City is filled with violence, greed, corruption, and is in a constant struggle within itself to maintain hope for those have none, strength to those who need it, and revenge for those seeking it,” reads the band’s self-penned biography. Members of the band’s fanbase are known as “Citizens.”
“‘Citizens’ portray their own characters, with their own stories, and have become part of the vision, part of the show,” Oliver, a 1999 graduate of FC High School and the son of Robert and Leslie Oliver, of Falls City, said.
Of course, that’s just what he does at night, on stage. The rest of the time he’s a husband, father and social worker. Oliver, 33, and his mates may melt your face off, carry an ax and scare the kids, but the inked-up man in the mohawk actually makes a living doing quite the opposite: Building families, futures and communities by improving the outcomes of children and families in the state’s foster care system. Oliver is a family permanency supervisor at Nebraka Families Collaborative, a nonprofit aiming “to build on child, family, and community strengths so that all children and families are safe, healthy, and thriving.”
“I supervise a team of seven family permanency specialists in the Abuse/Neglect Division, love my job, love my co-workers and love helping others,” Oliver said.
Matt and his wife, Ekho, have two young sons, Deagan and Griffin. And the Wagon Queen Family Truckster may rack up some miles this summer, as Arson City looks to burn up the airwaves and the road.
The band, formed in July 2013, has previously released material, but this is its first full-length album.
“Our first show out of the gate was opening for ‘Trapt’ in August of 2013,” Oliver said. “We gained some pretty quick recognition.”
In June 2014, the six-song “Not Coming Home” was produced and it’s title track remains in regular rotation on Omaha’s 89.7 FM.
“After the second release, we took off pretty quick, got a direct support slot opening for Stone Sour at Sokol Auditorium and since then we’ve been playing some pretty big shows around here, all while writing the new album. We started recording ‘The Horror Show’ in October or November last year and finished up in January.”
Arson City was recently added to the Rockfest summer festival May 29 at Westfair Amphitheater in Council Bluffs, which is headlined by Papa Roach, The Pretty Reckless and Halestorm, to name a few national metal acts. First, though, the band is rumored to be traveling south to the three-day Rocklahoma festival in Pryor, OK, one week before Rockfest. Major acts such as Slayer, Anthrax, Linkin Park and Godsmack, to name a very few, will play sets in Pryor, OK, this spring. Arson City could also yet get a spot on the three-day “Rock on the Range” festival in Columbus, OH in the middle of May, and play alongside the likes of Slipknot, Marlyn Manson and Judas Priest.
“We have a profile page where people can listen to our music; our fans are sharing our page getting our name out there, commenting on our profile,” Oliver said.
“It goes on what they call ‘Buzz Rating’ and at the end of the contest, judges in the industry will select some of their favorite bands in the contest to be included in this year’s (Rock on the Range) festival,” he said. “Currently we have the 10th overall Buzz Rating. With as much recognition as we have already, this is a pretty realistic possibility that this might happen.”
He would know. Oliver’s first big break on the Omaha hard rock scene came in the summer of 2011, when his former band Aurasing won a battle of the bands competition to play the River Riot Music Festival.
Oliver was a member of Aurasing for about four years, but left the band to join The Wreckage shortly after both bands played that River Riot festival.
It was a big deal at the time – but turns out FC’s native rock star was just warming up.
To help send Oliver and Arson City to a stage in Columbus, OH, vote at: rotr.battleofthebands.com/u/Arsoncity