COUNCIL BLUFFS — She & Him love the classics.
Classic pop and rock were the vibes thrown out all night by the band led by Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward.
The big band-sort of lineup (four extra musicians and two backup singers), the covers of classic pop songs (“Unchained Melody,” for one) and the way the band played off its titular members all fed into the old-time feel.
No surprise for fans of the duo. Deschanel's saccharine voice and “he loves me/he loves me not” songwriting make her new songs sound like echoes of the '50s, and Ward has long been known for doing everything in a classic sort of style — even refusing to record his music digitally or let audiences take pictures with cellphones.
“How's it going, Omaha?” Ward asked the thousands in the crowd at Stir Cove. “It's great to see you.”
Songs from She & Him's most recent release, “Volume 3,” were peppered throughout the band's performance, which lasted about 90 minutes.
“Never Wanted Your Love,” “Together,” “Baby,” “I've Got Your Number, Son,” “Turn to White” and “I Could've Been Your Girl” all came from the new album, and they were complemented with plenty of favorites including “Magic Trick” and “This Is Not a Test.”
I was happy to see Ward back in town, especially because of his talent on guitar and the keys. Ward switched between both, and his notes were the backbone of every song. Especially entertaining were his reverb-heavy guitar runs that began with a riff from a song and usually ended with him shredding an intricate melody.
She & Him's penchant for classic pop extended to covers that included NRBQ's “Ridin' in My Car,” Ward's version of Buddy Holly's “Rave On” and “Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me,” a song on She & Him's latest album that let Deschanel show off her pretty voice.
A serene series of duets in the middle of the set saw Deschanel take on Smokey Robinson's “You've Really Got a Hold on Me” and Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong's version of “Would You Like to Take a Walk?”
A decidedly different tone came from Omaha indie pop band Tilly and the Wall, which opened things up with its blend of tap dancing and danceable, loud pop.
For those who don't know, the band's Jamie Presnall provides much of the percussion by tap dancing on a wooden box. It's not as gimmicky as it sounds. Presnall's taps provide the beat for anyone to dance to the songs, especially tunes such as “Thicker Than Thieves” and “Love Riot,” both from the band's latest album, “Heavy Mood.”
“Thank you so much for dancing,” singer Kianna Alarid Cameron said.
Omaha got a lot of love from the stage. Ward and Deschanel talked about Tilly and the Wall, a few crew members that hail from Omaha and Mike Mogis, Ward's Monsters of Folk bandmate who had a hand in the production of a lot of She & Him's material.
“There's a lot of talent in this town,” Ward said. “It's good to be back.”